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.

Revive-Active-Junior-Vitamin-and-Mineal-Complex-20-Pack

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

 

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Controlling your bladder during and after pregnancy

Pregnancy places a lot of new additional stress on your pelvic floor muscles, causing them to weaken in as little as twelve weeks. At times it may feel as though your baby is playing a game with your bladder at the most inconvenient times.

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If you are having trouble controlling your bladder while pregnant, here’s a few tips to help you manage the symptoms:

  1. Do your pelvic floor exercises!
    Pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises are designed to support and strengthen the pelvic floor. Correct contraction of the pelvic floor muscles involves squeezing and lifting under the pelvis up into the body, around the vagina. Other parts of the body should be completely isolated avoiding activation of the glutes and inner thighs. Complete at least 30-40 contractions a day, aiming to work up to 10 seconds per contraction. For instance, complete 10 repetitions, 3-4 times per day. We know it can be difficult to find the time but you will be grateful in the end. And even if you can only manage a handful of some days that will be better than none at all.
  2. Keep your weight gain moderate
    Ensure your weight gain during pregnancy is progressing moderately by staying active and exercising within your limits. Follow a healthy and nutritious diet, as well as including fibrous foods to avoid constipation as this can add additional pressure on the pelvic floor.
  3. Don’t cut back on water intake
    Avoiding water will not solve the issue and may make you prone to other conditions such as urinary tract infections and dehydration. It is advised to keep drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day.
  4. Avoid foods and beverages that irritate the bladder
    Beverages such as tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks can increase bladder activity, as well as acidic products and spicy foods can also irritate the bladder. Try to avoid these items, however continue to include essential fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  5. Manage the issue
    If you suffer leaks during pregnancy, it is advised to use panty liners to absorb any urine. This will help you cope rather than to restrict your activity or interfere with daily life.

Despite continuing with pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy, it is possible that your pelvic floor will weaken due to the weight of the baby and the impact of child birth. Innovotherapy is recommended from six weeks after giving birth, with significant improvements in as little as four weeks.1 Ensure you seek medical approval from your doctor before using the INNOVO® device. Now available in LloydsPharmacy stores and online here.

1) Soeder S, Tunn R. (2012) – Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) of the Pelvic Floor Muscles using a Non-Invasive Surface Device in the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI); A Pilot Study. IUGA Poster Presentation Conference, Dublin, Ireland (2013)

 

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.

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.