When you are a parent, you know only too well the long nights of looking after a child who has a temperature, a heavy cold, or a vomiting bug. As adults, we have learned how to cope when we feel ill, but children may sometimes feel afraid, especially if they think they might be sick. There are some common illnesses that most children will get, and this guide shows you what to look out for and how to relieve symptoms.
If your child has cold-like symptoms, a mild fever, sore throat or a cough, then it is likely they have picked up a virus. Symptoms may persist for a few days or even more than a week. It is not normally necessary to see a GP unless the child become worse over time, or if they develop a rash that does not fade when pressed. In the case of any rash, get it looked at by a doctor to rule out any serious conditions.
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Most common viruses can be treated with a child pain reliever such as paracetamol, decongestants, and plenty of cuddles.
Chickenpox, or Varicella virus, begins with the child feeling unwell, with a temperature and sometimes vomiting. After approximately two days, red spots start to appear on the body and face. While the child might feel a little better at this point, they will still be tired and lethargic. The red spots gradually swell and form itchy, fluid-filled blisters, and it is only when they have all fully scabbed over that the child is no longer contagious. Try to encourage the child not to scratch the blisters because they will form deep scars.
Treat symptoms of chickenpox by controlling fever with a children’s paracetamol. Blisters can be soothed with over the counter lotions such as calamine.
Thankfully, most children will only get this virus once, however, they may get it for a second time if symptoms were mild in the first case. There is a vaccine available to prevent chickenpox.
Tonsillitis is a condition that brings a sore throat, pain when swallowing and a high temperature that can make a child feel poorly. The glands at the side of the neck may also be swollen, and characteristics white spots appear on the tonsils and back of the throat. Treat fever with a children’s paracetamol and offer things to soothe the throat, such as ice lollies. It is best to get seen by your GP too, as bacterial tonsillitis will need treating with antibiotics.
It is not nice to see your child feeling unwell, so give them plenty of tender loving care as well as treating their symptoms. Always make sure you have a well-stocked medical cupboard. If any illness persists, a temperature does not subside after a few days, or you suspect something more serious, then get your child looked at by a doctor. Usually, most common childhood illnesses resolve on their own, so it is an excellent excuse to have a duvet day together and watch some favourite films!