Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Looking after Your Children This Winter; the Common Thread through This Supplement Is How Winter Can Be a Tough Time of the Year When It Comes to Staying Healthy. Children Are No Exception to This Rule but There Are Some Things We Can Do to Help Prevent Viral Illnesses from Taking Hold

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Looking after Your Children This Winter; the Common Thread through This Supplement Is How Winter Can Be a Tough Time of the Year When It Comes to Staying Healthy. Children Are No Exception to This Rule but There Are Some Things We Can Do to Help Prevent Viral Illnesses from Taking Hold

Article excerpt

As we tend to spend more time indoors in close contact with others, we become 85% more likely to catch a cold at this time of year. Remember to make sure children know to wash their hands after using the bathroom, before and after eating, and especially after sneezing or coughing.

It is also important to encourage children to keep active and spend as much time outdoors in the fresh air as possible - well wrapped up of course.

The nasal flu vaccine offered to all primary school children has reduced the number affected by flu.

However, not all winter-related illnesses are avoidable, in particular for those under the age of five, or who have long-term conditions such as asthma or problems with their digestive system. Respiratory viruses and infections, flu and gastroenteritis (stomach bugs) can quickly become a problem.

Dr Mark Anderson, Lead Consultant Paediatrician for the Children's Assessment Service at the Great North Children's Hospital (GNCH) says: "Most symptoms pass in a few days and are easily treated with paracetamol based medicines to keep high temperatures down, along with plenty of fluids and rest. However, some seasonal conditions can be problematic and cause more concern such as major tummy upsets and viral respiratory problems.

"Generally speaking, your GP should be your first port of call if you feel your child is becoming too unwell to look after with traditional medicines and lots of hugs and cuddles at home. Your GP will usually prioritise very poorly children and see them quickly.

"If you can't see your GP quickly, and your child is over two years old, you can go to your local Walk in Centre, run by specially trained Nurse Practitioners.

"Attendance at the hospital's Emergency Department should be a last resort for when you think your child is really poorly."

Dr Mike McKean, a Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at GNCH adds: "Bronchiolitis is a particular problem this time of year and can make a child cough persistently and wheeze which causes more concern. …

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