Your Questions Answered

Back in October Dr Snell at Blossom Healthcare asked for your questions regarding your child's health and the response we received was fantastic- thank you! Dr Snell has been answering your questions and here are some of the most asked questions and answers!

Helen Dickinson Asks: When children are poorly with sickness or diarrhoea, how is the best way to encourage them to keep their fluids up?

- Keeping fluid intake up during sickness and diarrhoea is vital to ensure a full recovery. If your loved one is refusing fluids try to get them to drink Oral Rehydration Therapy. The ratio of minerals and water in these ensure maximum absorption compared to just drinking water alone. Sachets from the pharmacy come in all sorts of flavours – try them all to until you find one they like. Even getting a teaspoon of fluid in will help. If your child won’t take any fluids, or can’t keep them down, it’s always best to seek medical help.

Anonymous Asks: How likely is it that children will get chicken pox rather than getting them in their adulthood?

- Chicken pox is caused by a virus called varicella zoster and your child can only become infected when exposed to others with this virus. The highly contagious nature of the chickenpox and lack of early symptoms before blistering mean a contagious child can go to school unnoticed and easily spread the disease making it more likely to get infected as a child. Once infected, the virus lives dormant and inactive in the body but can be ‘awoken’ as an adult during periods of stress. This only happens in around 10% of adults. There’s lots of good evidence to show how likely it is that children will get chickenpox as well as the chances of getting it in adulthood. This article and this one are good examples (although they’re published in American journals and are fairly technical!).

Rebecca Phillips Asks: My son currently has a terrible cold…what can I use to clear his nose for long enough to let him get a good nights sleep?

- Saline nose drops and suction bulbs can help clear stuffy noses in the short-term but if it’s affecting their sleep, some people find keeping a cool-mist humidifier near your baby’s crib can help moisten and loosen the nasal mucus, making it easier for them to breathe. A bad cold can easily put as much pressure on your sleep as your child’s, so make sure you take care or yourself too. If you’re worried about your little one’s breathing at any time, it’s always best to seek medical help. Lots of clinicians have children too, so if you do find you need help, nobody should criticise you for being a concerned parent.

Carolys Asks: My daughter has recurrent bouts of Tonsilitis - why are some children more prone to this than others?

- Medical science can explain many things, although sometimes little ones do seem more susceptible than others and it can be difficult to find a firm reason. Recurring tonsillitis is not uncommon in children and young teens. When multiple infections occur in a single patient small crypts (openings) form in the tonsils which can be breeding grounds for bacteria and lead to further infection and another round of tonsillitis. Chronic tonsillitis can cause inflammation and soreness and, if your case is severe enough, is usually cured with removal of the tonsils. If you’re worried, make an appointment to see your doctor and share your concerns with them – they’re always best placed to help.

Kayleigh Radcliff Asks: My son keeps on getting awful colds in the winter no matter how many layers I wrap him up in he always gets ill. I can't seem to think what Im doing wrong, do you have any advice?

- Chances are you’re not doing anything wrong, sometimes people get poorly, seemingly without rhyme or reason. Everybody has a different immune system and no matter how much you try to avoid it, some little ones are just prone to getting ill. Washing hands thoroughly and keeping away from other children or adults that are ill can help. Plenty of exercise and immune boosting foods rich in vitamins and nutrients (e.g. fruits, vegetables, yoghurts or milk) can help give your child the strength to fight off any intruder that attacks. If you’re worried, see your GP and explain your concerns, they should be able to help. Some people think it’s better to get lots of viruses when you’re young too, to help build up your immunity later in life.

Maya Russell Asks: Little one has chicken pox at the moment. (I'm actually pleased.) I was using Virasoothe as I've heard that camomille doesn't work as it dries out. Is that right?

- Whilst camomile can be effective in reliving itchiness from chickenpox blisters it can dry them out, sometimes making them more itchy and more likely to get infected (from scratching). A natural way that’s works for a number of parents is to fill an old, clean stocking leg with oats, tie the end and let it sit in the bath with your child. The milky fluid secreted can have a soothing effect and relieve itchiness. It can be really tough for a while, on you and your little one, but it will pass.

Anonymous Asks: Are there any common illnesses or diseases I should be looking out for in my eldest as he soon hits double figures?!

- There is a long list of illnesses that have a teenage-onset and it can be exhausting trying to keep up with them all. Puberty is a rough time for most of us (parents and little ones!) so it’s important to ensure you’re there for your child if and when they need your help. Keep a watchful eye and if you’re ever worried about anything, speak to your child or a health professional.

Katharine Asks: Any tips for snuffly noses? Especially at night

– see Rebecca Phillips’ answer above

Alana Walker Asks: How can I get my child to take his oral antibiotics without pinning him down and forcing him to have it? Tried putting it in food and drink but he justs rejects it.

- The bitter taste of some antibiotics can mean a nasty battle is on your hands to get your child to take their medicine. Most of the time it’s just their age and they’ll probably soon learn to take their medicine quibble free. When bribery and coercion don’t work, you could try adding the medicine to their favourite drinks. Strong flavours like mildly diluted Ribena or banana milkshake with amoxicillin work well to hide their bitter tastes. I’ve heard of other parents masking them in sweetened porridge, hiding them in cakes or even ice-cream too.

Kieran Robertson Asks: how can I get my child to take antibiotics without too much trauma??

– see Alana Walker’s answer above

David Roberston Asks: Any tips for sore throats for toddlers?

- Sore throats are often caused by either bacterial or viral infections and paracetamol or Ibuprofen are often effective in reducing inflammation and soreness. Gargling salt water and drinking warm lemon tea with a teaspoon of honey can also be soothing, although I haven’t heard of many toddlers that welcome a glass of salt water. Ice cream is usually popular with toddlers, although you may also find them saying they have a sore throat every day. If symptoms like excessive dribbling, difficulty breathing, inability to swallow or a rash develop, it’s important to visit your GP or seek other medical help to get checked too.

Anthony Harrington Asks: Any tips for helping nappy rash?

- Nappy rash is most often caused by prolonged exposure to a wet or dirty nappy. The best way to treat nappy rash is to let the rash get as much air as possible and change the nappy often – up to 12 times a day if needed. Use warm water to clean their bottom and apply a thick layer of a barrier cream (such as a zinc paste) to keep the area protected. You can buy Sudocrem in most chemists or supermarkets and it usually works very well.

Wildlittleones Asks: What temperature should you think about getting your little one seen when they have a fever?

- A high temperature in your little one is a good sign, as it shows us that their immune system is working and fighting off illness. A fever is classified as a temperature reaching 37.5 °C (99.5F). Any fever reaching 40°C (104F) or lasting longer than five days is a cause for concern. If your child is poorly and you’re worried, it always bets to seek medical help sooner rather than later.

Vikkii Croker Asks: Any tips for eczema?

- Eczema is a skin condition characterised by red, itchy, irritated skin. In children, the hardest thing can be getting them to stop scratching and irritating the skin even more. It can be really tough on the little ones and the parents too. All cases of eczema are different and you should avoid attempting to treat it yourself. A trip to the dermatologist (you’ll probably need to be referred by your GP, so do check the specialist your GP suggests has paediatric experience) will tell you which moisturisers, topical steroid creams or ointments are needed. Night times can be problematic as skin can get hot and itchy. Moisturise at least 20 minutes before setting them down and keeping a cool room with natural bed linens should help lots too

Sophie Wearing Asks: At what point should you worry about reflux/spit up?

- The re-entering of stomach contents into the oesophagus during feeding is called reflux and is most often due to the small size of your baby’s stomach and the immature muscles that tighten the stomach opening. As long as your baby is gaining weight, reflux (or ‘spit-up’) is generally nothing to worry about and it should trail off by 12 months. Quite often little ones can cough so hard they make themselves sick. If your baby seems to be in pain or discomfort, has breathing difficulties, isn’t putting wight on properly or spits up green or yellow fluid or even blood, consult a medical professional as soon as possible.

Rugbymum Asks: My daughter loves fruit and veg and eats around 8-10 portions a day (she also eats rice, pasta and pulses but doesn't care for meat). Sometimes she gets really bloated and her tummy hurts/is uncomfortable. Should we be limiting her intake or balancing it with something else.

- Firstly, well done Rugbymum! You seem to have accomplished what most mum’s find difficult – getting children to eat enough fruit and vegetables. While it’s a good thing your child enjoys to eat the right foods, it’s important to give her a balanced diet to ensure she gets all the nutrients her growing body needs, especially iron if she’s not eating too much meat. Also, if you can see it’s causing her upset then it’s probably best to gently limit her intake so she’s not uncomfortable. Whole-wheat rice and pastas and fish are great ways to fill her plate while still giving her plenty of vegetables. If you’re worried, you should visit your GP too, who’ll be able to help too.

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