Paediatrician and Baby Channel Medical expert Su Laurent discusses how to deal with those common childhood illnesses.
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Sam Norman: Well, this time of the year that every toddler and baby seems to have a constant running nose and a whole catalog of other ailments. Doctor Su Laurent is Consultant Paediatrician at Barnet & Chase Farm hospitals and the Baby Channels Medical Advisor. She is here to help you get your baby through the ocean and winter flus. Su, it is true, isn’t it? This time of the year kids get poorly all the time, I mean, what’s the commonest cause of -- Su Laurent: It is the classic time for viral infections and the commonest thing children will have will be a cold. Sam Norman: Right. Su Laurent: And we partially call it an upper respiratory tract infection, it on early for short. What it is? It is a cold. And colds can affect babies and children in many different ways, they can have just a running nose, they can have sore throats, they can have ear infections, they can have a horrible cough. But personally my third child from the age of two to four, no, probably one to four, actually had permanently snotty nose from October till March. Sam Norman: Is that a little snot factory? Su Laurent: White little snot factories. Sam Norman: Yeah. Su Laurent: It’s constant dribble, constant snot. And in between times quite well in himself, and then a bit of temperature and then well in himself, but always snotty. Sam Norman: Did you treat him? Su Laurent: I didn’t. I am a firm believer that we should reserve antibiotics for very specific times when you know you’re treating a bacteria, which you need to be treated, which will get their on their own. Sam Norman: Right. Su Laurent: But for the vast majority of infections that babies will get and small children in the winter, leave them all alone, give them things to bring their temperature down, give them plenty of fluids, but don’t give them antibiotics. Sam Norman: How do you make that decision, I mean you know, the anxious mother will automatically take her baby to a doctor and it really depends, doesn’t it , on the GPs instruction? Su Laurent: I think it does, and I think that the more and more GPs are avoiding using antibiotics if possible, I mean you’ve probably had quite a lot of resistance around to antibiotics now. Sam Norman: Yeah, yeah. Su Laurent: And certain things we used to commonly use antibiotics for, you have to change your antibiotics because the original ones don’t work. I think on the whole, GPs are working on persuading parents that actually antibiotics are necessary except for a very few specific situations, I mean one of them for example will be pneumonia and another one will be meningitis, another one will be an urine infections, but as you can tell they’re all fairly major problems we’re talking about. Sam Norman: Yeah. Su Laurent: The average cold does not need them. Sam Norman: But of course, everybody as soon as while I’m speaking from experience, but as soon as my children got ill when they were little, I automatically suspected that they had meningitis each time. Su Laurent: Yeah, exactly, exactly. I think and every parent does to became with, but very soon you learn to pick up on, is much child actually just snotty and a bit miserable and off they feed slightly, but actually on the whole, okay, or are they really irritable, listless, lethargic, completely off feeds. There are two very different categories, and after a while you’ll learn to recognize the difference between those two. If you’re not sure, very important to see a doctor. Sam Norman: Doctor anyway, yeah. Su Laurent: And very often you’ll be able to be reassured but obviously sometimes medical attention will be needed. Sam Norman: Because children can go from in one minute being absolutely fine come to the next minute, really poor and my temperatures and -- Su Laurent: And sometimes the first thing to do is try and get the temperature down. Sam Norman: Yeah. Su Laurent: You can do that by giving something such as paracetamol or Ibuprofen and then also by stripping your child off, keeping them cool, s