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Children's health

If you are worried about your child's health you should get advice. This could be telephone advice or a consultation with a doctor or nurse at your surgery.

Telephone advice is also available from NHS 111. If you feel that it is an emergency, dial 999 immediately. The following are signs of possible serious illness.

Your child is drowsy or irritable

Although children with a temperature are often more sleepy, irritable and lacking interest than usual, they usually improve after treatment with paracetamol and / or Ibuprofen. If they do not improve, or if they are very drowsy indeed, they should see a doctor urgently.

Breathing problems

Your child has problems breathing - including rapid breathing and being short of breath or ‘working hard’ to breathe. It sometimes looks as though the tissues between the ribs and below the ribs get sucked in each time they breathe. Any child who has a lot of difficulty breathing needs to see a doctor urgently.

Cough

A cough that lasts for more than three weeks or sooner if becoming breathless more easily or there is a family history of asthma.

Fever

A fever for 24 hours or more with no other sign of infection (i.e. cough, runny nose, earache etc.)

Losing weight

Your child loses weight and does not re-gain it within two weeks in an under 5 year old, or within four weeks in an older child.

Respiratory tract infections (coughs, colds, sore throats, and ear aches)

A helpful leaflet about respiratory tract infections in children has been developed by researchers at Cardiff University. 

The leaflet provides information for parents and carers about respiratory tract infections (coughs, colds, sore throats, and ear aches) in children and how these are managed by GPs and other primary care clinicians.

Other signs

  • Cold or discoloured hands or feet with a warm body
  • Severe arm and/or leg pains (for no obvious reason)
  • Unusual skin colour (pale, blue or dusky around the lips)
  • An infant who is not feeding or any child that is showing signs of dehydration
  • High temperature (40oc or higher) - This is not necessarily a sign of serious infection, but if the temperature does not come down with treatment or your child has other features on this list then you should seek help.

More information is available online at www.whenshouldIworry.com

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