Back to school bugs are easier to fight than you might think

Parents have been urged to be prepared in case children pick up illnesses after returning to school.

A leading local GP has said having a well-stocked medicine cabinet and knowing how to treat common ailments in children is the best way to avoid doctors’ appointments. Colds, upset stomachs and minor cuts and bruises spread easily among children. A quick trip to the pharmacist is the easiest way to get advice and the best treatments on illnesses and injuries.

Dr Amanda Doyle, a Blackpool GP and chief clinical officer at NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups, said “Having an ill child can, understandably, be a worrying time for a parent. Being ill is very common for young children, especially when they first start back to school, and being well prepared for most of the common minor ailments children suffer is really important.  

“Having a stock of paracetamol, plasters and even a thermometer for taking your child’s temperature is a good start. Most of the time the best remedy is rest and plenty of fluids. 

“Paracetamol is cheap to buy over the counter at pharmacies or supermarkets and is a good way to help a child who has pains associated with the illness. However make sure you use it within the guidelines and that you understand that coughs, colds, vomiting and diarrhoea and viral infections with a fever will generally get better without treatment, you just have to let it get better and seek medical advice if it persists or your child seems particularly unwell.” 

Keeping your child off school will give them the best chance to have the rest they need to fight whatever illness they have. It will also help prevent the spread of germs that could make other children sick. The NHS website has some good advice on when to keep a child off school and your school might also have guidance on when a child shouldn’t attend.

If your child is ill for more than five days or if the illness shows other symptoms such as a high temperature, drowsiness or rashes then you should consult your GP. If you suspect meningitis then you should go straight to the urgent care centre.

If you do feel the need to go to the GP you can call to make an appointment in the morning and practices will make sure an ill child is seen on the same day. Working parents can also request an appointment with the extended access service which offers bookable appointments at  Freckleton Health Centre, Whitegate Drive Health Centre in Blackpool or Fleetwood Health and Wellbeing Centre until 8pm weekdays and from 8am and 8pm on weekends. These appointments can be booked via your GP practice.

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