Cold & Flu Tips for little ones

Children are often the hardest hit when it comes to cold and flu during winter due to their small bodies still being new to the concept of fighting infection. Being in close proximity to other small children in crèches or schools means bugs and other “nasties” can be spread a lot easier. Their runny noses and watery eyes are a sure sign they’re in need of some TLC, so what can you do to help your little ones should they fall under the weather this winter?

As with adults, provided the symptoms aren’t too severe, self-care tips should always be the first port-of-call. I’m fully aware of how difficult it can be to find a suitable option for children, as often they’re very limited to what they can take and perhaps are quite fussy with what they will take too. Some of the best care tips that I would always recommend to parents are:

  • Put some vapour rub on a towel/tissue and leave near their bedside– don’t apply directly to the skin. (Snuffle Babe ® is suitable for infants 3 months+).
  • Saline based nasal drops can work very well for decongestion, some brands have a product that can be used from birth e.g. Calpol ®.
  • Another Calpol® product that I would recommend for infants (3 months+) is the “Vapour Plug and Nightlight”. This provides a soothing, calming environment, which can aid a child’s breathing and sleep.
  • A warm bath can ease breathing.
  • Ensure the child remains hydrated.
  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Remember to avoid honey in babies <1, and aspirin in children <16 years.
  • All products listed are available through the LloydsPharmacy website, or in store (subject to availability).
  • If the child is wheezing/short of breath or has middle ear pain or has a sore throat with fever or if the symptoms haven’t improved within 3 days, it is advisable that you attend your GP for a diagnosis.

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To reduce the chances of your little ones coming down with something this winter I would always recommend supplements for both toddlers and older children. They are readily available, affordable and often come in appealing jelly forms for kids. At LloydsPharmacy, some of the products we stock are: Junior Revive Active, Centrum for Kids, Nature’s Way- Alive! Children’s Chewable Multivitamins.

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Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy

 

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13 Essential Products For Newborns

Coming home with a newborn (or two!) can be very scary, especially for first time parents. You really have no idea how to look after this little person! In our first 10 months of caring for our lovely daughters, we have tried and tested lots of products for all the little newborn ailments most parents may experience. We have put together a short list of products we used (and still use!) which we think greatly help in the first few daunting months as parents.

Colds

In the first few months babies can get frequent colds, as their immune systems are still developing. There are a number of products which help with the various symptoms of the common cold

Sterimar-BabySterimar Nasal Spray – We have used this so much in helping to clear a blocked nose. It is safe to use frequently and causes no discomfort. A nasal aspirator can also be used from birth. It seems quite strange trying to suck anything out of the nose, but it really does work!

snuffbabe-vapor-rubOlbas Oil and Snuffle Babe – These can be used from 3 months. We found it very helpful to put the Snuffle Babe on their chest at night (or before naps) and the oil in some hot (but not boiling) water in the room. They really are very good at maintaining an unblocked nose for long periods of time, without the need to wake a child up and aspirate or spray up their nose. As they say, never wake a sleeping baby! If you don’t like these particular aromatics, the Calpol Vapour Plug-In is very useful too.

Calpol and Nurofen – These are essential to have from 3 months onwards. If your child has a temperature, these are easily to best way to bring it down. Be careful to follow the dosing schedule correctly. These are also great when your baby is in pain with teething.

IMAGES 12Braun Thermometer – It is important to invest in a good thermometer, and we found this one brilliant! It is easy to use, and gives a fast, accurate reading in a few seconds.

Teething

Once you have just got to grips with looking after this little person and figuring out their personalities, something else happens: teeth! Some babies can be in visible pain or distress when teething as the teeth break through the gums. Babies start to dribble a lot and produce lots of saliva; they want to chew anything and everything. We found that Sophie the Giraffe was a life saver during this period. In fact, we ended up getting 3 as they used them so much! The Teetha teething granules and Bonjela are also great to ease the pain of teething.

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Bathing and Skin

In the early days there is no need to use any bath products on their delicate skin; water and cotton wool should suffice. We found it best to bathe our two about 2-3 times per week. One of our girls had a touch of eczema for several months and we kept it largely at bay with a few products:

Oilatum Junior Emollient – We put a capful in the bath, and it was brilliant at helping to moisturise the skin and rebuild the barrier layer. The skin was noticeably less dry and itchy after each bath.

Lipikar Baume AP – After the bath, we always put this on their skin. You only have to apply it once or twice per day, and the effects are profound and long-lasting. It is suitable for newborns’ skin, and is definitely one of our most used products!

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Nappy Rash

Babies’ bums can get very red and irritated due to their delicate skin being exposed to urine. We found La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume to be one of the best at reducing the inflammation. If the skin was very irritated, we would use Bepanthen; it is amazing at clearing a rash overnight. Be sure to put on a good layer; give your baby some “no nappy time” to let their skin breathe, although accidents can happen!

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Written by Grainne Rooney & Martin McDaid, LloydsPharmacy Omni Park S.C.

Head Lice in Children

boy_with_head_lice1That awful note arrives home with your child from school….head lice!!! Immediately that feeling of dread travels through your body. You want to act straight away but what do you do? What do you need?
It may sound obvious but you must first confirm that your child really does have lice. Use a fine tooth comb to brush their hair and make sure you actually spot a moving louse before you start treatment. You should be particularly interested in the areas above the ears and above the hairline at the back of the head.

Head lice are wingless insects that are grey-brown in colour. They are tiny when they first hatch but eventually grow to 3mm long (the size of a sesame seed) over 6-10 days. Head lice feed by biting the scalp and sucking blood. Only when mature can a head louse transfer from head to head. Head lice cannot fly, jump or swim. They are spread by head-to-head contact and climb from the hair of an infected person to the hair of someone else. Children (particularly those in primary school) are often affected by head lice because they tend to have more frequent head-to-head contact.

A female head louse lays eggs by cementing them to hairs where they will be kept warm by the scalp. When these eggs hatch 7 to 10 days later, the empty eggshells or nits remain glued in place. These are white and can often be seen on close inspection. After mating, a female may start to lay eggs from the seventh day after she has hatched. So to break the life cycle and stop head lice spreading, they need to be removed from the head before the sixth day after hatching.

A number of treatments are available. Your pharmacist can suggest a suitable one for you depending on
• the age of your child,
• whether they are asthmatic,
• what quantity you will need,
• whether you would prefer a pesticide free option and
• whether you need a quick and effective treatment or are happy to treat overnight.

Always follow the instructions on the treatment pack! Many treatments require that you repeat the process in 7 days after all eggs have hatched but before the new lice have matured enough to lay eggs of their own. Products used to treat head lice do not prevent the infection from occurring and should never be used as a preventative measure.

Once treated, there are a number of strategies you can take to prevent re-infestation:
• Check children’s hair for lice and nits regularly. Wet comb the hair every week after your child’s bath.
• Tie up long hair in a ponytail to avoid hair coming into contact with other children.
• Inform your child’s school, contacts and friends straight away. Other parents can then be asked to check and treat their own children so as to avoid re-infestation.
• Specific repellent products may be purchased in the pharmacy and may be suitable for your child. Tea tree shampoo may also be used on a regular basis.

LloydsPharmacy stock a number of products suitable for treating head lice lice in children and adults.

Written by Aoife.

First Aid Kit Essentials

aceKB5yniA fully stocked first aid kit is a must have for every home and workplace.

Injuries can happen anywhere, at any time, and a first aid kit can allow you to act quickly and efficiently in an emergency situation. This can make all the difference in treating both minor and more serious injuries by helping to reduce the severity of the injury, reducing risk of infection and easing the pain of the patient.

As a scout leader myself I never go on a trip without my first aid kit. Thankfully I rarely have needed to use it; it provides great reassurance to me knowing it is close at hand. On the occasions I have used it, it has provided both comfort and treatment to grazed knees, bumped heads and upset children. Sometimes just the sight of one of the leaders charging towards them with the massive green first aid kit is enough to make a child stop crying! This might also be partly due to the lollipops also kept in the kit!

Having a badly stocked first aid kit is of no use; therefore it is important to ensure that your first aid kit is fully stocked with the correct supplies and quantities of these supplies. The Irish Health and Safety Authority recommend the following:

 

Item Quantity for 1-10 people Quantity for 11-25 people
Adhesive plasters 20 20
Sterile eye pads 2 2
Triangular bandage 2 6
Safety pins 6 6
Sterile wound dressing (10x10cms) 2 2
Sterile wound dressing (13x9cms) 2 6
Sterile wound dressing (28×17.5cms) 2 3
Disinfectant wipes 10 20
Bandage shears 1 1
Examinations gloves 5 10
Sterile water 2 x 20mls 2x500mls
Pocket face masks 1 1
Small burn dressing 1 1
Large burn dressing 1 1
Crepe bandage (7cm) 1 2

Other items that you may also wish to include are:

Medication should NOT be included in workplace first aid kits as first aiders are not permitted to administer medication. The first aid kit itself must be clearly marked as first aid or have a red cross on the box. I would also encourage everybody to take a basic first aid course; it might just save a life!

Written by Liam

Hay Fever In Children

Hay fever tends to affect children as they get older (about 6-7), and seems to be getting more common in recent years. Sometimes hay fever can be confused with a virus as many symptoms are similar. However Hay fever has clear seasonal symptoms, which occur every year at the same time (from March to October) and can last from weeks to months. If your child has a constant runny nose and is sneezing every day for this part of the year but not in the winter, it’s a sign that they may be suffering from hay fever.

Useful measures that can be taken to prevent hay fever include:

  • Using a pair of wraparound sunglasses to protect their eyes and discourage rubbing
  • Spreading some petroleum jelly around your child’s nostrils to help catch pollen before it is breathed in.
  • Keeping windows closed when inside
  • Checking the pollen forecast before planning days out. Coastal and urban areas tend to have lower pollen counts than places such as the park (especially if the grass has just been cut).
  • Using air conditioning in your car rather than opening windows
  • If your child has been out in the garden, wash their hands and faces and change their clothes as soon as they come back into the house. Pollen attaches to the fibre of clothes and can continue to cause symptoms over the next few hours.
  • For the same reason don’t dry your child’s clothes and bed sheets outside on high pollen days

Once hay fever has been diagnosed, your pharmacist will be able to recommend a number of strategies. The mainstay of treatment is an antihistamine. Antihistamine liquids are available over the counter for children from the age of 2 yrs. Using a saline nasal rinse like Neilmed may also be helpful, and can be used in young children. Prevalin Allergy Kids is a nasal spray for relief and protection from sneezing, runny nose, blocked nose and itchy/watery eyes. It is non-drowsy, and antihistamine and steroid free, and can be used in conjunction with an antihistamine.

Written by Aoife.

Ear infections in babies and children

03dc4dac46d84669baf0303c29d3703dBjpwXfUnfortunately, an ear infection is something most mothers will come across at some stage in their child’s first few years. Symptoms include

  • Earache
  • Dulled hearing
  • High temperature
  • Occasionally the eardrum bursts and the ear becomes runny for a few days

My first experience with an ear infection was when my baby was 9 months old. He was very restless and cried more than usual for two days or so but had no temperature. Like many mothers I put it down to teething. However on the third day I picked him up from his nap to find discharge running out of his right ear. I hadn’t even considered an ear infection. There followed a trip to the GP, an antibiotic and a gradual return of my confidence as a mother.

In general, ear infections tend to be infrequent but in some children they are relentless. The small space behind the eardrum in the middle ear is normally filled with air. However in some children it is filled with fluid. These children are said to have glue ear, and are more prone to ear infections. And so it was with mine. He continued to get ear infection after ear infection for the next 6 months.

Although our first instinct is to attend the GP for an antibiotic, antibiotics are not actually advised in most cases of uncomplicated ear infections. This is because the infection usually clears within 2-3 days on its own (an antibiotic often takes this long to work anyway). Occasionally, a GP will prescribe an antibiotic but ask a mother to hold off giving it for a couple of days. In the meantime, pain and fever should be treated with over the counter painkillers. Calpol and Nurofen can be alternated every 3-4 hours in babies as young as 3 months. However, you should always speak to your pharmacist for advice on the use of pain relief for children.

Antibiotics should be given:

  • To babies under 2
  • If infection is severe
  • If infection is not settling after 2-3 days
  • If any complications develop

A burst eardrum will usually heal over within a few weeks by itself once the infection clears. It appears quite dramatic but is actually associated with reduced pain (pain can be due to the build up of fluid putting pressure on the bulging eardrum).

If there is fluid behind the eardrum which is causing frequent infections, an ENT consultant may advise the insertion of a grommet. This is a small tube placed in through the eardrum which will allow the fluid to drain. In most cases this tube will remain in place for a minimum of 9 months. Roughly one in three children who get grommets need a second set, and one in three of those who get a second set need a third.

If your toddler reaches this stage it may be worth undergoing allergy testing. In some cases certain triggers like cow’s milk or pollen may cause excessive mucus to be produced which can build up behind the eardrum and become infected. However it is not advised to take a toddler off dairy unless this is proven to be a contributory factor.

Written by Aoife.

Top Tips For Fevers

 

Keeping Fever AwayI am currently working with Nurofen for Children to raise awareness of fever management, a commom symptom of Cold and Flu in kids following recent research[1] undertaken by Nurofen, which found that 60% of parents in Ireland panic when they discover their child had a fever.

Below is some advice to help parents recognise and treat the symptoms associated with fever.

What are the common symptoms of cold and flu in children?

Fever is often the first sign of an illness in children and when your child has a temperature it can be a very worrying time. However, while fever is the first sign of an illness such as a cold or flu it is also simply the body’s way of fighting infection and increasing protection against disease.

How would parents recognise fever?

Fever is regarded as having a body temperature usually above 37.8°C. Symptoms may vary according to the underlying cause of fever, but some common signs to look out for include:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness during the night
  • Pale with cool hands and feet but hot forehead, tummy and back
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shivering
  • Vomiting suddenly

How would you suggest parents treat a fever? 

Once you have established that your child has a temperature in excess of 37.8°C, fever reducing medication should be considered. You can also take additional steps to reduce fever and increase your child’s comfort by:

  • Loosening tight clothing
  • Make your child’s environment cooler
  • Keep giving them cool drinks which will prevent dehydration
  • Do not give your child a cold bath as this can cause the child to shiver which actually raises core body temperature

When should parents be concerned about fever?

Parents should seek medical assistance from their GP if:

  • The fever is accompanied by a stiff neck, confusion or irritability
  • Your child is between 6 months and 1 year and the fever lasts longer the 24 hours
  • Despite treatment the fever does not reduce below 37.8°C
  • The fever persists longer than two days
  • Assistance should always be sought from a GP for babies under 3 months who are experiencing a fever, irrespective of other symptoms or duration

What resources would you recommend to parents looking to become more confident in treating fever?

Firstly, many parents rely on tactile temperature readings, which is the feeling of the forehead. My advice to parents would be to consider using a good thermometer, such as a digital ear thermometer, for a more accurate reading.

Secondly, it’s important that parents have some medicine to hand in their medicine cabinet.

Nurofen for Children is specially formulated to reduce fever in children, providing fever-reducing benefits from 15 minutes and long lasting relief for up to 8 hours.

To be prepared for when fever strikes, the Nurofen for Children Pain and Fever Guide is available to download from www.nurofenforchildren.ie. This guide offers simple fever advice for parents and is very handy to have in the medicine cabinet – just in case!

Written by Aoife Molloy


[1] Research conducted by Empathy Research, based on a survey of 291 parents of children aged between 0-6 years of age.