This very common illness often starts with a child who is generally off-colour for a day or two before the rash appears. There may be signs of a cold, headache, sore throat, sickness and high temperature. Small red pimples appear later (initially on body, then face and limbs) which then turn to small blisters.
The condition is caused by a virus and has an incubation period of 10-20 days. The child is infectious until all the spots have crusted (6-8 days usually). The child should be kept away from women in the late stages of pregnancy.
Treatment consists of rest and paracetamol for fever. Calamine lotion may help for itching spots. Try to stop your child scratching – keep nails short and clean and use cotton gloves if necessary.
This illness is not very common and in most cases is not life-threatening. However, some types of meningitis can have a rapid onset and be very severe, so you should be aware of what to look out for. The symptoms usually include some of these:
High temperature Bad headache
Confusion or sleepiness Avoiding the light
Rash –watch out for tiny red or brown pinprick marks which can change into purple blotches or blood blisters. The rash will not blanch with pressure (use a glass tumbler pressed against the skin to check).
Young babies may not have these symptoms, but may simply be generally unwell, difficult to rouse with pale or blotchy skin. If you suspect meningitis, contact a doctor IMMEDIATELY.
Influenza is very different from a simple cold. After an incubation of 1-3 days, it starts abruptly with fever, shivering and generalised aching in the limbs. There is often severe headache, sore throat and persistent dry cough that can last for several weeks. Treatment is with bed rest and paracetamol or ibuprofen for relief of the symptoms. Antibiotics are not effective against the flu virus. Influenza can be serious. If the patient is not recovering, call a Doctor.
Please telephone the surgery for advice on dealing with Headlice.
First Aid Advice
Burns and Scalds
Treat immediately by running under a cold tap for at least 10 minutes. Remove rings or bracelets if you burn a hand or fingers. Remove any clothing covering the affected area. Do not prick or burst blisters deliberately – they are there to protect the damaged tissue beneath from further trauma and infection.
In the case of serious burns, please seek medical attention.
Most nosebleeds will stop within half an hour.
Sit upright, with your head tilted slightly forward. Apply pressure to the soft part of the nose, just below the bony bridge. Squeeze firmly between finger and thumb for 10 – 15 minutes. Place a bowl on your lap and spit out any blood from the throat. Try not to swallow blood – it frequently causes nausea or vomiting, especially in children. Try releasing the pressure after 15 minutes.
If bleeding persists, re-apply pressure for a further 15 minutes. If there is still bleeding, seek medical advice.
This is most common in young children, involving medicines, toxic plants or berries and poisonous cleaning materials. Be aware of the risk and contact your doctor for advice if you suspect that your child has ingested a poison.
Do not attempt to induce vomiting until you have obtained medical advice.
Bites and Stings
Animal bites should be cleaned thoroughly in running water as soon as possible. Use an antiseptic cream. Consider whether your tetanus vaccination is up to date.
Insect bites can sometimes cause considerable local itching and swelling. Use antiseptic cream and consider antihistamine tablets or cream for itching. Both are available over the counter from your pharmacist.
Wasp stings may be helped by applying vinegar.
Bee stings can respond to bicarbonate of soda paste. Try to ensure that the bee sting is fully removed from the skin.
If you think someone may have a fracture, try not to move the injured part of the body. Try to immobilise the affected part until medical help can be obtained, either at the doctor’s surgery or hospital accident department.
If the fracture may involve the skull, neck or spine, seek urgent medical help and call for an ambulance. Do not offer the injured person anything to eat or drink. They may require an anaesthetic to set the fracture.