Coughs and colds in children: advice for parents and carers

The NHS is seeing an increase in respiratory illness in children, as COVID restrictions ease and people mix more.

For the majority of children, respiratory illnesses (coughs and colds) are not serious and they will soon recover following rest and plenty of fluids.

But some children under two, especially those born prematurely or with a heart condition, can experience more severe illness.

Parents and carers are encouraged to look out for symptoms of a severe infection and to contact a healthcare professional when concerned.   

Local GP, Dr Oliver Anglin said: “Respiratory infections in children are very common and most of the time your child can be looked after safely at home, without seeing a doctor.

“Symptoms of severe respiratory infection in children include a dry and persistent cough and finding it hard to breathe – which could be rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing) or drawing in of the muscles below their lower ribs, at their neck, or between their ribs.

“You should contact your GP or call NHS 111 if your child has problems breathing, has taken less than half their usual amount during the last two or three feeds, has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more, or has a persistent high temperature of 38C or above.

“I recommend you have a look at this great, simple NHS health advice for parents and carers booklet which will help you work out whether your child can be looked after at home with some help from the pharmacist or if they need to be seen by a doctor.”

The health advice for parents and carers booklet is available to download in Bengali, Greek, Gujarati, Persian (Farsi), Somali and Turkish on the North London Partners website.