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Children’s Health

Common Illnesses in Children

Children are highly susceptible to many illnesses, especially during the colder winter months when colds and coughs are common. The effectiveness of cough and cold medicines has recently been an issue of great debate, with several being branded ineffective; the best thing to do if your child is suffering from a cold or a cough is to seek advice from your local pharmacist or your GP. Eczema can also be very common in young children and while some may grow out of it, others may suffer right into their adult lives. There are several creams and lotions available to ease the sensation of itchiness and calm the eczema patches, as well as special solutions for the bath; ask your GP for details. Teething can be an extremely restless and painful time for your child and they may suffer from several side effects such as sickness, having rosy cheeks and a temperature and being clingy. There are teething gels available and medication can be taken to reduce the child’s temperature.


According to research, the number of children with asthma is increasing year on year. The symptoms of asthma commonly include a chesty cough, slow, laboured breathing and wheezing. If your child displays these symptoms organise an appointment with your local GP; if the child is diagnosed with asthma then suitable treatments, such as inhalers can be prescribed. Asthma attacks can be triggered by dust, animals, smoke and mold and therefore it is essential to keep your house as clean and as dust free as possible. Asthma attacks can potentially be fatal so always ensure your child has their inhaler with them wherever they go.

Child obesity

Child obesity is an increasingly common health problem; research suggests that 27% of British children are now overweight. To ensure your child enjoys a healthy and happy lifestyle try to introduce them to a healthy and varied diet and frequent periods of exercise from an early age. Studies confirm that those children introduced to vegetables and fruit from birth are more likely to eat them in their adult life. The Government’s ‘Change 4 Life’ programme has been launched to encourage families to exercise together and enjoy a healthy diet. Home cooked food is much better for you than ready-made or fast food; these can be high in sugar and salt and do not contain the nutrients, minerals and vitamins your child needs. It is also important to ensure your child drinks plenty of milk; guidelines suggest children should have at least 1 pint of full fat milk per day right up to the age of 18 to ensure the development of healthy bones and teeth.

Speech Problems

Many young children suffer from speech problems but these can be helped with simple exercises as well as specially designed speech therapy classes. If you think your child might have problems with their speech your GP or health visitor can refer them for an assessment and then speech therapy if it is required. Most children grow out of these problems fairly quickly; try to help them by encouraging them when they say something right or learn a new word as this will help them internalise the correct way of speaking and will build their confidence.