Location: St.Albans - Hatfield Road
26th February 2017

Winter Illnesses /Health visitor blog

Winter Illnesses
I was asked this week to write the blog on winter illnesses as this is the time of year when everyone seems to get poorly! Of course there are lots of viruses doing the rounds at the moment however there are some quite well known illnesses that are also about so I thought I would give a brief outline of them:
Croup
Croup is a viral infection usually found in children from 3 months to 5 years and it most common in the winter.
Symptoms:
*Cough- often described as a ‘Bark’.
*High pitched crowing noise when breathing in which may seem worse at night (stridor).
*Maybe breathless
*maybe a mild fever.
Managing the symptoms:
*Keep your child upright
*Lots of fluids
*Try and increase the humidity. Running a shower in the bathroom and get your child to sit with you in the bathroom. Also, putting a bowl of water by the radiator in your child’s room will help to humidify the air.
If your child becomes unwell with any of the symptoms, particularly breathing, seek medical attention urgently
Pneumonia
Did you know that pneumonia is 20 times more common than meningitis as a cause of serious infection in children under 5 (Nice 2007)? Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by either a bacteria or a virus and has a high mortality rate.
Symptoms:
*Fever
*Rigors (shivering when there is a high temperature)
*Breathlessness
*Cough
*Maybe blood stained or rusty sputum
*Unilateral chest pain
*Raised heart rate and rapid respiratory rate.
This is a very serious infection and will need urgent medical attention!
Scarlet Fever
Scarlet Fever is a bacterial infection which is mainly seen in children from the ages of 2-8.
2 | P a g e
Symptoms:
*Sore throat, enlarged neck glands
*Fever, headache
*A rash starting on the abdomen and chest which peels after 7 days.
*Flushed face, pale around the mouth and a “strawberry tongue”
*red throat
If you suspect your child has scarlet fever then they will need to be treated with antibiotics and they will need to be away from nursery until 24hrs after treatment.
Slapped cheek
Slapped cheek is a common rash caused by the parvovirus and is most common in 4-10 year olds. The incubation period is 4-20 days and once the rash has developed, the child is no longer infectious.
Symptoms:
*runny nose
*Diarrhoea
*headache
*possible fever and joint pains
* bright red rash on both cheeks
*possible rash on trunk and limbs.
There is no specific treatment for slapped cheek and really no need to exclude from nursery however, if your child is immunosuppressed, has a blood disorder or bone marrow problem, please see your GP.
Otitis Media
Otitis media is a common viral or bacterial infection of the inner ear. It causes inflammation and a build up of fluid behind the ear drum.
Symptoms
*earache- child maybe pulling, tugging or rubbing their ear.
*a high temperature
*coughing or a runny nose
*diarrhoea
*loss of balance
*vomiting
*a lack of energy
* possibly slight hearing loss ( if the middle ear becomes filled with fluid, hearing loss maybe a sign of glue ear, also known as otitis media with effusion (NHS 2017).
Most cases of otitis media will pass within a few days but if you have any of the following symptoms, please see your GP.
- Showing no signs of improvement after two or three days
- A lot of pain
- A discharge or pus or fluid from the ear. (Some people however, develop a persistent and painless ear discharge that may last for many months).
- An underlying health condition such as cystic fibrosis or congenital heart disease which could make complications more likely.
(NHS 2017