Having an ill child can be Cough Sore throat and earache
These are common symptoms in children and
a scary experience. This When young children get a cold, they often
usually do not need any specific treatment.
develop a chesty cough. Their breathing may
leaflet aims to give you sound noisy, especially at nighttime. Most children are better within 1 week of
more information about symptoms starting. Evidence shows that
Coughing helps the body to fight infection
children who take antibiotics get better just as
common childhood and is often the last symptom to settle when
quickly as those who don’t. See over leaf for
a child recovers. Antibiotics are not required
illnesses so you feel more further info on why antibiotics aren’t
for a cough associated with a cold.
confident about dealing appropriate.
Diarrhoea and vomiting
Viral gastroenteritis is extremely common in children. Specific treatment is usually not required
and the aim is to keep your child comfortable and prevent dehydration. Signs that your child is
Fever dehydrated are dry mouth, less wet nappies or peeing less than normal and drowsiness.
A raised body temperature is a normal Dehydration is more common in children less than 1 year. Good hand hygiene is essential when
response to infection your child has gastroenteritis particularly after a nappy change, using the toilet and before
By bringing the temperature down, preparing food or bottle.
your child will feel better. Strip them of
outer clothing and use paracetamol
and ibuprofen as below. What can I do?
A child’s immune system is very powerful and will clear up most common infections by itself. The aim of
treatment is to ease the symptoms and make your child more comfortable.
Colds are very common in children of Ensure your child is getting plenty to drink to prevent dehydration, loosen pleghm
all ages. Healthy children can and moisten the throat. If your child is vomiting, give fluids little and often
sometimes have 8 or more colds in a throughout the day.
year. Colds are caused by viruses and If your child is reluctant to drink, ice lollies are a good way of getting fluid into them.
antibiotics are not helpful in treating
them. The colour of the phlegm/nasal When children are ill their appetite will decrease, this is normal and you should not
discharge is not a sign of more serious worry if your child doesn’t eat anything for a couple of days. Fluid intake is far more
infection. Children with green nasal important.
discharge do not need antibiotics. Pain and high temperatures are best treated with paracetamol and ibuprofen. These
Most children recover from a cold in a medications work in different ways and it is ok to use them together. The most
week. effective way to keep the temperature down is to alternate doses of paracetamol and
ibuprofen throughout the day. Be careful not to give more than the recommended
Useful sources of information dose in any one 24 hour period
www.patient.co.uk Although these products state you should not use them for more than 48 hours
nhs direct 0845 4647 without seeing a doctor, as long as your child does not have any features described
www.whenshouldiworry.com/booklet- overleaf and you are not unduly worried, you can continue using them for longer.
When to seek help Abbey Medical Centre
Why not antibiotics? The following are signs of possible serious
It is important not to use antibiotics
unless they are really need: Your child is drowsy or irritable.
Your child has difficulty breathing – any child
Antibiotics only work against who is working hard to breathe should see a
bacteria and not viral infection. doctor urgently
Most common illnesses are High temperature >40 C which does not come
caused by viruses. down with treatment
Using antibiotics can make Any baby who is not feeding or an older child
bacteria resistant to antibiotics. with signs of dehydration
So the antibiotics will no longer Symptoms that may be due to meningitis
work against the infection. Severe headache
Antibiotics can kill our bodies A stiff neck
natural bacteria, leading to A rash that does not fade with the glass
infections such as thrush test
Dislike of bright lights
Antibiotics have side effects
such as diarrhoea, upset
stomach and rashes
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED, SEEK ADVICE
Who to contact
Abbey Medical Centre Caring for your
0844 499 6932
Ill children will always be offered an assessment by a
doctor or triage nurse if you are concerned they are ill
Out Of Hours service
0300 1 30 30 40
18.30-08.00 Mon-Fri and weekends Advice on treating common
This service is based at Warwick Hospital, you will be illnesses in children
offered an appointment to see a GP and is much quicker
than going to A&E
Accident and Emergency Department
For emergency care only