Every parent fears the worst when their child falls ill, it is a natural part of parenthood. But rather than jumping to conclusions or being an alarmist, it is best to approach childhood illness with common sense, a cool head and a calm state of mind. Here are some useful tips to help you cope with your child’s illnesses.

Teach and Encourage High Personal Hygiene Standards

Many common childhood illnesses are bacterial or viral infections that can be avoided by practicing good personal health. This means washing your hands with soap and water after toilets visits, before eating, after coughing and travelling on public transport. They should also be taught to cover their mouths when they cough to prevent spreading diseases.    

Monitor Rashes and Coughs Carefully

Some of the symptoms of colds and flu can be the symptoms of other diseases. Fifth disease, also known as ‘slapped cheek’ syndrome, can seem like a cold early on. This is why it is important not to overreact to your child’s sickness, but equally not to under estimate what it is. The best approach is to monitor any condition closely and seek medical advice if you are at all unsure. 

Croup often affects very young children. It’s most common symptom is a very harsh cough that sounds like a barking seal. It can be serious enough to require hospital treatment, but it is very rarely fatal. Croup usually lasts about one week. 

Whooping cough is a contagious bacterial infection and can affect both adults and children. It can cause a child to cough so hard they they take wheezing breaths in between coughing fits. More than half of babies that develop whopping cough receive hospital treatment. 

Take Care of Yourself

You will be unable to look after the family properly if you worry, unnecessarily expose yourself to catching what your child has or get sick yourself. Be sure to drink lots of water, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and get a decent night of sleep while you are taking care of your sick child so you are in optimum health and capable of looking after the family. 

Speak to Parents and Teachers

Good preventative measure to help avoid your child getting sick are important. It is advisable to keep good communication channels with your nanny, nursery or creche staff, school teachers and parents of other children. This means you will be aware of what the health issues that are affecting other children in your community. This will enable you to better protect your children against potential illness and better prepare you to deal with illnesses that arise by being conscious of what they could be.

Often the causes of health issues can be traced using common sense. This can prevent any panics and unnecessary alarm, allowing you to swiftly recognise problems and seek medical advice accordingly.  

If you are ever uncertain as to your child’s health it is always best practice to seek professional medical advice.