Common childhood illnesses

The NHS.uk website contains wealth of information and advice to help parents to treat common childhood health problems.

Advice for a few of these common problems include:

Diarrhoea and vomiting

Practice good hygiene in the home, and increase fluids. You can get oral rehydration fluids from your pharmacy or your GP. If you have a baby, contact your GP or health visitor if they have passed six or more diarrhoeal stools, vomited three or more times in the past 24 hours, or if they’re otherwise unwell.

For older children, contact your GP if:

  • they have diarrhoea and vomiting at the same time
  • the stools are especially watery or contain blood,
  • it lasts for more than two or three days
  • the child has severe or continuous stomach ache

Otherwise, diarrhoea isn’t usually a cause for concern.

Colds

Most colds get better within a week. You should increase fluids and use paracetamol or ibuprofen for fevers.

Earache

If your child is otherwise well, give them paracetamol or ibuprofen for 12-24 hours. Most problems will get better by themselves. After an ear infection your child may have a problem hearing for two to six weeks. If it lasts longer than this you should see your GP.

Sore throats

Sore throats usually clear up on their own but if your child suffers for more than four days, has a high temperature and is generally unwell, or is unable to swallow fluids or saliva, see your GP.

Coughs

If your child is drinking, eating and breathing normally, without wheezing, a cough isn’t usually cause for concern. If they have a bad cough that won’t go, a high temperature and breathlessness, they may have a chest infection.If this is caused by bacteria your GP will prescribe antibiotics.

If a cough continues for a long time, is worse at night, is brought on by your child running about, or if your child is wheezy or breathless, it could be a sign of asthma, so see your GP.

If your child has trouble breathing contact your GP, no matter what time it is.