The summer holidays are over and it’s time for children to go back to school, but it’s important that parents are prepared to deal with the exposure that some children will encounter when it comes to common illnesses such as colds and coughs, as well as chicken pox.

Local doctors are advising parents to visit their local pharmacist for advice on common ailments and to help them choose the right care for their children.

Illnesses and injuries such as colds, upset stomachs and minor cuts and bruises are common with a lot of children, but they are easily treatable at home by taking the right advice and medicine.

Pharmacies are the best place to get information on self-care and treatments for common minor ailments amongst children. For example, head lice combs are available from local pharmacies and are still considered the best course of action if a child catches lice.

Speaking on behalf of the whole Fylde coast NHS, Dr Amanda Doyle, a Blackpool GP and Chief Clinical Officer at NHS Blackpool CCG, said “Having an ill child can, understandably, be a worrying time for a parent. But, being well prepared for most of the common minor ailments children suffer is really important.

“Having a stock of paracetamol, plasters and even a thermometer for taking your child’s temperature is a good start.

“There is also a wealth of information and advice on the NHS Choices website to help treat the variety of minor ailments at home.”

If your child becomes ill it is also difficult knowing when to keep them off school. 

Keeping them off school is the best way to avoid the spread of illness and ease the strain on NHS services. NHS Choices offers this guidance:

  • Cough and cold. A child with a minor cough or cold may attend school. If the cold is accompanied by a raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay off school, visit the GP and return to school 24 hours after they start to feel better.
  • Raised temperature. If your child has a raised temperature, they shouldn’t attend school. They can return 24 hours after they start to feel better.
  • Rash. Skin rashes can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and measles. Children with these conditions shouldn’t attend school.

A rash may also be a sign of meningitis. If you suspect meningitis you should take your child to the urgent care centre as soon as possible.

  • Headache. A child with a minor headache doesn’t usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then consult your GP.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea. Children with diarrhoea and/or vomiting should definitely be kept off school until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have gone.
  • Sore throat. A sore throat alone doesn’t have to keep a child from school.
  • Chickenpox. If your child has chickenpox, keep them off school until all their spots have crusted over.

If you do feel your child needs to see a doctor most GP practices will provide a same day appointment for children as long as you call them first thing in the morning.