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Keeping your child well at home this winter

Keeping your child well at home this winter

Baby Massage session, part of the Happy and Healthy Project, at the St George’s Community Centre

Family Health services in Wakefield are sharing useful online advice and guidance with parents and guardians to support them in looking after children who become unwell at home this winter.

Babies and children usually pick up a range of common illnesses during the first year of life while their immune systems are still developing. Unfortunately, due to lockdown many babies have not had this opportunity and health services are seeing a significant number of babies with respiratory illnesses.

Common coughs and colds are also frequently picked up at this time of year as children mix with others at play and school. Wakefield 0-19 Children’s service is therefore encouraging anyone looking after a child who is poorly at home to look at their online advice on the Family Health service website.

Parents and guardians will find advice on common symptoms and how to treat them, including a series of videos on coughs, colds, sore throats, and other minor illnesses such as diarrhoea and vomiting, earache and fever. Each one looks at how to relieve symptoms, how long they should last and when to see a doctor.

Margaret Appleyard, 0-19 Children’s service Manager in Wakefield, says: “We always see an increase in coughs, colds and minor illness in babies and children at this time of year. Our health visitors, nursery nurses and school nurses offer advice and guidance to families to assist with their children’s health and wellbeing. There are also lots of things you can do at home to help your child feel better, and more often than not children will not need to see their GP.”

If families require any further advice or support, they can ring the service’s Single Point of Contact on 01924 310130, 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Friday. In most cases, minor illnesses should clear up within a few days to a week and can be treated at home with over-the-counter medicines.

Parents will also find useful resources for taking care of babies and young children on the Wakefield Families Together website.

Jenny Lingrell, Service Director for Children’s Health and Wellbeing at Wakefield Council, says: “The Wakefield Families Together website provides helpful information and advice to support with your child’s health. Here you will find useful links, including ones to Health Visiting and School Nursing services, along with professional advice that will help if you have worries or concerns around your child’s health and wellbeing.

Baby Massage session, part of the Happy and Healthy Project, at the St George’s Community Centre
Baby Massage session, part of the Happy and Healthy Project, at the St George’s Community Centre

Anne-Marie Spencer, Service Manager at Wakefield Council, added: “If you would prefer to speak to someone about your worries, you can also contact your local Family Hub where you will be able to speak to our ‘Duty Children First’ team to discuss support for the whole family.”

In addition to the above, Wakefield-based Community Centre St George’s are working on a ‘Happy and Healthy’ project to raise parent and carer awareness of children’s respiratory illness. Berni O’Brien, Chair of the Happy and Healthy partners group, confirmed a range of community-based resources, webinars and activities will be available soon.

If you are concerned that your child has developed a high temperature or they appear to be getting worse, please don’t hesitate to contact the NHS111 service for further advice and support.