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Looking after a sick child

  • Don’t overheat the room your child is in. Keep it airy without being draughty.
  • Give your child plenty to drink. For the first day or so don’t bother about food unless it’s wanted. After that, try to find ways of making a bit of food tempting.
  • Try to give your child time for quiet games, stories, company and comfort.
  • Sick children are often easily tired and need lots of rest. Encourage your child to doze off when he or she needs to, perhaps with a story read by you or on tape.

Looking after a sick child, even for a couple of days, is exhausting. Make things as easy for yourself as you can.

Get rest and sleep when you can, and try to get somebody else to take over every now and then to give you a break.

Symptoms and signs that are sometimes serious:

  • a hoarse cough with noisy breathing
  • crying for an unusually long time or in an unusual way or seeming to be in a lot of pain; refusing feeds 
  • diarrhoea or vomiting, particularly both together
  • unusually hot or cold or listless or more drowsy than normal.

We are indebted to Health Promotion England for their help in compiling this section.