Many common childhood illnesses can be treated at home, but it is important to trust your instincts and if you are concerned, seek advice.
If your child is ill, the most important thing to do is to listen to them.
If they say they don’t need to be in bed, they probably don’t. They might feel better on the sofa with a blanket or duvet.
Whether they’re in bed or on the sofa, the following will help them feel more comfortable:
- Keep the room airy without being draughty. If the room is too warm, they’ll probably feel worse.
- Give your child plenty to drink. For the first day or so don’t bother about food unless they want it. After that, start trying to tempt them with bits of food and encouraging them to have nutritious drinks like milk.
- Try to give your child time for quiet games, stories, company and comfort, being ill can be boring as a child starts to recover.
- Sick children get very tired and need plenty of rest. Encourage your child to doze off when they need to, perhaps with a story read by you or on tape or CD.
Remember, as parents you also need to get rest and sleep when you can, and try to get somebody else to take over now and then to give you a break.
It is good to be prepared and have a supply of essential medicines. Always check that medicines are appropriate to your child’s age and never exceed the stated dose.
If your child is ill, you can try your local pharmacy first. They’ll tell you if your child needs to see a GP. If your child has signs of serious illness, contact your GP directly or take them straight to the A&E department of your local hospital.
Most GP surgeries are very supportive of parents. Some will fit babies into surgeries without an appointment or see them at the beginning of surgery hours. Many GPs will also advise over the phone.
If you find it difficult to contact your doctor or get to the surgery, you can call NHS 111 for medical advice, 24 hours a day.
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