Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

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Respiratory illnesses in young children

What to look out for if your young child has a respiratory illness.

In Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, like the rest of the country, we are seeing an increase in respiratory illness in young children. This is because restrictions have eased and people have been mixing more which has resulted in cases being higher than usual for this time of year with further increases being expected over the winter months.

Health experts are encouraging parents to ensure they know what to do if their child has a respiratory illness particularly in young children. Dr Kerri Sallis, GP at Peacock Healthcare in Carlton said: “For the majority of children, these illnesses will not be serious and they will soon recover at home following rest and plenty of fluids. Infant paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used if your child is miserable with a fever or appears to be in pain. “Most infants have been infected at least once by the time they are two years old. However, we expect levels of common seasonal illnesses to increase this year as fewer children will have built up natural immunity during the pandemic. If a child under two is suffering from a cold, keep a close eye on their symptoms and contact your doctor or HS 111 if they get a high temperature, become breathless or have difficulty feeding. It’s important that we carry on with good hygiene habits that we’ve become used to during the pandemic, in order to protect ourselves and those around us.”

What to do if you think your child has RSV?

RSV is a very common virus and almost all children are infected with it by the time they’re two years old. In older children and adults, RSV may cause a cough or cold, which is usually mild, but in young children it can cause a condition which only affects young children called bronchiolitis.

Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks, but parents should contact their GP or call NHS 111 if:

  • your child struggles to breath.
  • Your child has taken less than half their usual amount during the last 2 or 3 feeds, or they have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more.
  • Your child has a persistent high temperature of 37.8C or above.

Some children under 2, especially those born prematurely or with a heart condition, can be more seriously ill as a result of common respiratory infections. Go to your nearest A&E department or dial 999 for an ambulance if:

  • Your baby is having difficulty breathing
  • Your baby’s tongue or lips are blue
  • There are long pauses in your baby’s breathing.

Find out more about the symptoms and what to do by visiting: What 0-18 – Wheeze and breathing difficulties

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Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Parentline. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health practitioner within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

  • Parents and carers of children aged 0-19:



Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 07-09-2021

This page will be next reviewed on 07-09-2024