June – Viral illnesses

Dr Harry PertDr Harry Pert talks this month about Viral illnesses.
We know that having a sick child can be pretty stressful, and sometimes downright scary! On average children aged between 6 months and 5 years will get about 6-10 viral illnesses a year. That means, for the children registered with us here at Ranolf St about 8,000 infections a year!

The good news is the vast majority of these infections are minor and children usually come right in about a week. They don’t need treatment with antibiotics (which have no effect on viruses), and are rarely so severe that they need hospital treatment.

These infections are more common in the winter months, if your child has older brothers and sisters (bringing home infections from school), or if your child goes to kindy or kohanga reo.

So, what can you do?

• Keep your child away from daycare if they are sick.
• Teach your children good cough hygiene (use tissues, cough into their elbow)
• Teach good hand washing – they should be washing for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday to themselves

Here are two useful resources. The first one “When should I worry” is a great little leaflet from the NHS. Download it, read it and use if you come to the surgery.
http://www.whenshouldIworry.com (Remember though that this is an NHS leaflet. Emergency numbers in New Zealand are 111 not 999)

The other, from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, is a useful explanation of viral illnesses. http://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Viral_illnesses/

And remember:
If you are worried call us. Talk to one of the practice nurses. They are all registered nurses and experienced mums!