Every child under the age of 5 will have a designated Health Visitor. They offer emotional support, health care and lifestyle advice to young families. This could be in your own home or in a variety of alternative settings, including the surgery or children’s centres. They work closely with the doctors, having regular meetings to ensure good co-ordination of your child’s care. Further details are available from the Health Visitors on Williton 633427.
Routine Checks by the Doctor
You will be asked to take your child for routine check-ups with the doctor at 6 weeks, 6/7 months and 4 years of age. If you have any worries or queries concerning your child you can, of course, discuss them with the doctor or health visitor at any time.
Childhood Immunisation Clinics
When immunisations are due, you will receive an invitation from the Somerset Patient & Practitioner Services. Clinics are held each month at both surgeries.
Routine immunisations are:
- 2 months - 1st Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis/Polio/Hib + 1st Pneumococcal vaccine + 1st Rotavirus + 1st Meningitis B
- 3 months - 2nd Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis/Polio/Hib + 1st Meningitis C + 2nd Rotavirus
- 4 months - 3rd Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis/Polio/Hib + 2nd Pneumococcal vaccine + 2nd Meningitis B
- 12-13 months - Booster Hib + 1st Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) + 3rd Pneumococcal vaccine + 3rd Meningitis B
- 2 & 3 years - Influenza
- 3 years 4 months - 4th Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis/Polio + 2nd Measles/Mups/Rubella (MMR2)
- 12-13 years (girls only) - HPV 16 & 18 (common cervicval cancer strains) + HPV 6 & 11 (genital wart strains)
- 14 years (given via schools) - Booster Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio + Booster Meningitis C
- 14-18 years - Mengitis ACWY
Childhood Infections & Common Ailments
A virus usually causes the most common childhood infections. They generally get better on their own without treatment from a doctor. However, if your child appears particularly unwell or you are worried about them, your doctor will be happy to give you advice.
A small rash, about 3-4mm across, appears on the first day, followed quickly by small blisters in the centre of these patches. Further spots continue to develop over the next few days whilst the original ones will start to turn ‘crusty’. The most infectious period is prior to the rash developing, during which time the child appears to have a slight cold, and for up to 5 days after its first appearance. Children may return to school 5 days from the onset of the rash.
Diarrhoea in Young Children & Babies
This needs careful attention. Most babies have loose bowel movements during their first 6 months but if symptoms persist longer than 24 hours, or are accompanied by vomiting or weakness, consult a doctor. Babies and young children should be treated with caution and a doctor will be happy to advise you over the telephone.
German Measles (Rubella)
The rash appears quickly and usually covers the body, arms and legs in small 2-4 mm pink patches that do not itch. Apart from occasional aching joints, no other symptoms are usually apparent. It is infectious from 2 days before the rash appears until it disappears in about 4-5 days. The only danger is to unborn babies and it is important to stay away from pregnant women who are not immune. Childhood immunisation can prevent this disease.
Head lice are small grey crawling insects, who prefer to live in clean hair near the ears and the back of the head. They spread by head to head contact. Medicated lotion can be obtained from the chemist and all members of the family, except young babies, should be treated. Traditional wet combing with a fine-tooth comb will help remove lice and their eggs.
A blotchy red rash appears on the face and body on about the 4th day of feeling unwell and is often accompanied by a cough. It is most infectious from 2-3 days before the rash appears until about 8-10 afterwards. Childhood immunisation can prevent this disease.
Fortunately this is rare but it can affect all ages. The main symptoms are severe headache and high fever that does not respond to simple medicines, pain and stiffness in the back of the neck and pain behind the eyes when exposed to bright light. There may also be severe vomiting. Anyone with these symptoms, particularly if accompanied by a skin rash, drowsiness or confusion, should contact a doctor urgently. Childhood immunisation can protect against some of the most common causes of this disease.
The symptoms are swelling of glands in front of one or other ear, often followed after a couple of days by swelling in front of the other ear. If the pain is severe seek medical advice. Childhood immunisation can prevent this disease.
Children get a high temperature because of infection, usually caused by a virus that will not respond to antibiotics. Treatment is the same as for an adult. In very rare cases, children under 5 may have a convulsion, which causes the child to suddenly shake all over, and then become very still. This should subside in 5 minutes. Lay the child on their side and stay with them while it lasts. Call the doctor as soon as possible.
These are common in younger children, although older children and adults can also be affected. Small white cotton thread-like worms may be noticed in a child’s motion. The child may wake at night with an itchy bottom and the worms can often be seen near the anal opening where they lay eggs. They are spread when eggs become lodged under the fingernails during scratching and are then transferred to the mouth. There is no cause for alarm as this is not a dangerous condition. All members of the family except young babies should be treated and medicine is available from the chemist.