Seeing your child suffer with any kind of physical problem is a heart-wrenching (and sometimes scary) experience. Arm yourself with information about common and uncommon discomforts and conditions, from roseola, thrush, and stomach flu to flat head syndrome and worrisome birthmarks – and from diarrhea and ear infections to vision problems like amblyopia (lazy eye).
Children, especially babies may not be able to communicate their illness as well as adults and most commonly their signs and symptoms may not be similar to adult which may make it difficult for parents to decide whether a doctor consultation is needed or not.
If your child is ill the most important thing to do is to listen to them. If they say they don’t need to be in bed, they probably don’t. They might feel better on the sofa with a blanket or duvet.
Whether they’re in bed or on the sofa the following will help them feel more comfortable.
- Keep the room airy without being draughty. If the room is too warm they’ll probably feel worse.
- Give your child plenty to drink. For the first day or so don’t bother about food unless they want it. After that start trying to tempt them with bits of food and encouraging them to have nutritious drinks like milk.
- Try to give your child time for quiet games, stories, company and comfort.
- Sick children get very tired and need plenty of rest. Encourage your child to doze off when he or she needs to, perhaps with a story read by you or on tape or CD.
- Never fall asleep with a sick baby on the sofa with you, even if you’re both exhausted. This increases the chances of cot death. Go to Getting your baby to sleep for more information about reducing the risk of cot death.
Looking after a sick child, even for a couple of days, is exhausting. Make things as easy for yourself as you can. Get rest and sleep when you can, and try to get somebody else to take over every now and then to give you a break.
Getting expert help
If you think your child is ill you can contact us for a consultation.If your child has signs of serious illness you may need to take them straight to the A&E department of your local hospital.