What to do if your child is ill - welcome advice from Warrington Hospital

Dr Colin Wong – Consultant Paediatrician, Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

This summer we are seeing lots of children and babies in the Emergency Department (A&E) at Warrington Hospital with a range of upper respiratory tract infections. Symptoms include a cough, a runny nose and a high temperature.

As lockdown eases, children are mixing more with others and are now coming into contact with viruses usually seen in the winter months. We know it can be a worrying time for parents and carers and our Emergency Department is seeing lots of patients, children and babies, that can often be treated at home.

We wanted to remind parents what to do if your child is poorly and to help those, who can safely do so, avoid an unnecessary trip or wait in A&E.

It’s important to emphasise, however, that doctors and nurses are always on hand to care for patients, if it’s an emergency or life-threatening situation.

What should I do if my child is poorly?

If your child is unwell medicines which contain paracetamol or ibuprofen can help ease their symptoms. Keep them comfortable by wearing loose clothing and make sure they are drinking regular fluids.

What should I do if my child has a high temperature?

Treating at home

A high temperature is a sign that your child’s body is fighting the infection well. Paracetamol or ibuprofen should help to bring a temperature down and it is worth seeing how children respond.

If they are taking fluids and seem happy in themselves, then keep up with regular doses to keep them comfortable. However, if the child continues to deteriorate, then please seek medical advice and help.

Where to go?

There lots of ways to seek help and advice and you can always have your child seen by a medical professional, if you are concerned.

Urgent Treatment Centres (formerly called Walk-in Centres), GP practices or your local pharmacist are all fully trained to give expert advice on how to treat minor ailments.

If in doubt visit NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk or call free. NHS 111 will be able to signpost you to the right treatment in the right place and can even book time slots at some local services including Urgent Treatment Centres, GP practices and local emergency departments, if appropriate.

For minor injuries and ailments Runcorn Urgent Treatment Centre, at the Halton Hospital site and Widnes Urgent Treatment are both open every day between 8am and 9pm. Please arrive before 8pm to ensure you can be seen before closing.

Residents who are registered with a local GP practice can continue to contact their surgery as usual.

When to come to the Emergency Department

Signs that your child may need medical help include your child appearing drowsy, not responsive to you, or if they become floppy or listless or show signs of difficulty breathing and colour change (eg becoming blue around the mouth).

If they develop spots or a rash that does not disappear when you roll a glass over it, then seek urgent medical advice by contacting your local emergency department or calling 999.

Doctors and nurses at our hospital are always available to those that need us and we appreciate your help and support by using services appropriately. Please try and keep our emergency department free to treat emergencies.