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Let’s take a look at some common ailments in babies and small kids

Children catching minor ailments is a fact of life, as parents know all too well! Coming down with something is especially common once they start creche or meet new people out in the wider world. 

Thankfully, most of the illnesses children pick up are treatable and pass quickly. Here’s a guide on how to spot and diagnose the most common. As ever, see a pharmacist or GP if you are concerned about any of your child’s symptoms.

Constipation 

Symptoms include stomach pains, hard stools and infrequent bowel movements. Of concern is the manner in which your child goes and if they experience pain and discomfort, not necessarily only how often. Make sure your child is eating a balanced diet, having plenty of fluids and exercising regularly. 

Cough/cold

Most coughs and colds will resolve themselves without any medical intervention, but keep an eye. Give your child regular fluids to prevent dehydration. Wash your hands before handling babies and teach small children to cover their nose and mouths when they sneeze or cough.

Croup

Croup is a viral infection that leads to a barking cough and inflammation of the vocal cords. Children may find this distressing, so stay close. Warm drinks may help loosen the mucus. Cool, fresh air might also help to relieve symptoms.

Diarrhoea

The passing of frequent and loose stools. This can be serious for small children and babies due to the risk of dehydration. Try bland, easily-digested foods and avoid dairy products. If there is a sign of dehydration, please consult your doctor, including if there is a change in the level of alertness of your child.

Fever

Fever is usually the sign of either a bacterial or viral infection. Keep your child cool and remove excess clothing and sponge the child with tepid water. Give them plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. If your child is unusually sleepy, crying persistently, convulses or has the fever for more than 48 hours, see a doctor. Symptoms of meningitis include a headache, sore neck and red spots – seek help right away if you suspect the fever is meningitis. 

Nappy rash

Moisture and chafing can cause a baby’s skin to become irritated around the nappy area, which can also become worsened by allergic reactions, food intolerance or fungal infections. Follow the ABCD method – Air the skin and try to keep it dry, Barrier cream to protect at each change, Change nappies as frequently as you can, Disposable nappies are less likely to cause a rash. 

Teething

Teeth can arrive at any time between birth and around 14 months. Signs a child is teething include being irritable, drooling, red cheeks, and chewing everything in sight! Topical gels can help, or a cold teething ring. Massaging a baby’s gums with your finger can help too.

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