Childhood ailments, advice from the experts

11 May 2017

Dr Stephen Rose, Consultant Paediatrician, offers advice on common childhood ailments.


Fevers don’t always need Calpol

“Fever is our natural response to infection and helps our immune system kill the bugs. The only reason for giving Calpol is not for the fever, it’s to make the child feel better. If you feel your child is okay and is running around then you don’t need to give them anything.

"Most children get a viral infection, they get a fever and then they get better - they don’t need to go and see a doctor.

"Occasionally the infection is more serious so, if you have a child who has a high fever but also has a change of behaviour - sleepy or unusually irritable or there’s something not quite right about them - then you should treat that fever seriously and speak to your GP.”


You don’t always need antibiotics

“The vast majority of childhood illnesses don’t require antibiotics. Most GPs will treat tonsillitis with antibiotics and that’s because it can be either viral or bacterial - you don’t want to miss a bacterial infection. If they can find somewhere that’s infected it will need antibiotics.

"But if a child is a bit miserable with a bit of a rash and temperature they won’t need antibiotics.

"Parents can question the GP and ask if their child needs antibiotics. But they should expect, more often than not, the answer will be no.”


Don’t miss your child’s routine check ups

“Your child will have a check at birth, at 6-8 weeks, 18 months and three years. These are all to pick up on problems that aren’t causing the child difficulty but will potentially have more long-lasting problems if they have to be dealt with later.”


Don’t get too hung up on germs

“There’s a concern that we’re being too clean which could be a cause for the significant increase in allergies.

"The immune system has to be doing something - your child has been immunised and isn’t getting any bugs, so it turns to allergies. As such, there has to be a balance. It’s not a good idea to become ‘germ phobic’.

"We don’t want kids to be too ‘clean’. But on the other hand it’s good practice to get them to wash their hands before eating and whenever they go to the toilet.”


Try not to over-Google

“The reality is you’ll never stop parents googling their child’s symptoms. But if you're worried, print out what you’ve read and take it to your GP. They can then explain it to you. Parents are looking at it from a standpoint of no medical knowledge. At least the doctor can look at it with you and go through it.”


Know the red flags

“There are certain red flags to be aware of. For example, if your child is unusually listless or has an altered consciousness - so not just tired. Another is a temperature over 40 degrees with a change in behaviour. And of course, all parents should be aware of the glass test to check for a meningitis rash.”


Get a thermometer that works

“It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, just one you can rely on. Not a strip that goes over the forehead. One that can give you a proper idea of your child’s temperature.”


Drink milk

“Drinking milk is our best source of calcium for growing bones so is important children drink it, especially teenage girls.”


Dr Stephen Rose is a Consultant Paediatrician who offers private paediatrician clinics at Spire Parkway in Solihull, Birmingham. He has wide experience in all aspects of general paediatrics. He had extensive training to develop expertise in paediatric allergy, diabetes and endocrinology.

A paediatric nursing team is available at Spire Parkway Hospital to provide excellent care for children. We see children from 0-18 years through our outpatient services.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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