Children’s Health GP Tuggeranong – Greenway Medical Centre

Bulk Billing Doctors Kambah, Wanniassa, Isabella Plains, Gordon, Conder

For the most part, children’s health is taken care of by their constantly adapting immune system. However, mild illness is still a part of growing up and is hard to avoid.

Looking after a sick child, even for a couple of days, can be exhausting. If you are ever concerned about your child’s health, it’s wise to seek the professional opinion of your GP.

The doctors at Greenway Medical Centre will be able to attend to your child’s needs, offering advice and management of conditions to put your mind at ease.

There are a wide variety of common health issues that the doctors see regularly, so you can have confidence that your child is in good hands.

Allergies

One of the most common medical conditions, allergies come in a variety of forms and happen when your child reacts to an allergen.

This allergen could be in the form of dust, pollen, a sting, or a type of food. Allergic reactions may be mild such as hay fever or a rash.

Some reactions result in diarrhoea, stomach pain or vomiting that can be mild or severe. It’s important to consult your doctor if you think your child has an allergy. This is because more serious allergic reactions may result in anaphylaxis. This is where breathing, swelling in the mouth and other reactions to an allergen become life-threatening.

Asthma

A condition that causes breathing problems, asthma may be described by children as a ’sore tummy’ and can be identified as a wheezing or whistling noise when breathing.

Tightness or pain in the chest is a common sign as is a cough during physical activity or during the night.

It’s common in kids and can run in families but, with the right care plan, kids and teenagers can still pursue just about anything they want to.

Colds

The ‘common cold’ is aptly named, especially since preschool kids average at least six colds a year.

Children can easily go from one cold to the next, as they are still building their immunity to the many viruses that are out there. Thankfully these will become less prominent as your child grows older.

Most colds are resolved over time, but a doctor should be consulted if there is a fever that lasts more than 48 hours or if you are worried. This may be because your child is not drinking fluids, is unusually tired, is wheezing or physically sick.

Not sharing cups or drink bottles, good hygiene such as hand washing, and coughing into the elbow, are all excellent ways in which to prevent colds.

Conjunctivitis

Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis can be either a contagious eye infection that can spread quickly through the playground or an allergic condition.

Although the swelling of the inner eyelids and white part of the eye can look bad, it usually isn’t serious. It usually develops over a few days and can take up to three weeks to resolve.

If the symptoms are mild, gentle cleaning of the eye with a cotton ball and warm water may help, but ensure to clean in only one direction and discard the cotton ball each time.

Should the condition not improve after a couple of days, consulting your doctor will enable them to recommend treatment, especially if pain, fever or problems with vision are being experienced.

Food intolerances

Food intolerances can be caused by items such as milk, soy, eggs, wheat, and nuts. However, some types of food such as peanuts can potentially result in a severe and sudden allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Symptoms of food intolerance are less severe, are often delayed and involve the digestive system as opposed to food allergies that relate to the immune system. Bloating, headaches, rashes, mouth ulcers, and an upset stomach are all symptoms.

Although difficult to diagnose, through a process of elimination, the foods within your child’s diet can be identified as a potential cause of intolerance. This can be done at home, or with the assistance of your doctor who may suggest some tests for confirmation.

If intolerance to a particular food is no longer an issue your doctor may suggest carefully reintroducing the food into your child’s diet. From there it can be determined if the food issue has been resolved.

Gastroenteritis

A short term illness, gastroenteritis is a bowel infection that affects the digestive system. It is highly infectious and can be spread by contact with an infected person or through contaminated food or water.

Diarrhoea and vomiting, as well as cramps and fever, are usually experienced but with rest and rehydration, this condition can often be treated at home, with small amounts of fluid often.

Keeping up fluids during this time is important as they are lost through the symptoms experienced. Water is good but there are also oral rehydration solutions that can be used to replace fluids and body salts, some are available as icy poles that appeal more to kids. Avoiding drinks high in sugar is important as it can make dehydration worse.

Children under six months old should always see a GP if they have gastroenteritis. Kids older than this should see a doctor if their condition becomes worse, is not improving or dehydration, stomach pain and other signs are of concern. Once again good hygiene will prevent it from spreading to others.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

A viral infection, hand, foot and mouth disease causes blisters or a rash on the hands and feet, as well as small mouth ulcers in or around the mouth. This is usually a mild condition that affects kids under the age of ten. It is caused by different viruses so can be caught more than once but cannot be caught from animals.

The condition is infectious until the blisters are gone usually within a week to ten days. Good hygiene is important during this time to prevent it spreading to others.

There is no cure for hand, foot and mouth disease but it will usually get better by itself. Eating soft foods, keeping up fluids is important to prevent dehydration, and avoiding tangy foods like tomatoes or oranges will help keep your child comfortable.

A doctor should be consulted if you are unsure as to why your child has a rash, is refusing food or liquids, has pain or dizziness, or if there is a concern that they are generally unwell.

Impetigo

Also known as school sores, this skin infection is caused by bacteria and usually appears as red sores or small blisters and is highly contagious.

Unlike hand, foot and mouth disease it can appear anywhere on a child’s body and the blisters are itchy. The blisters may rupture leaving red, moist, weepy skin, that dries to a honey-coloured crust.

It may look like a serious condition but is usually a mild infection that is easy to treat. Consulting your doctor can at least confirm what these spots are a result of and they may prescribe antibiotics as a cream, tablet or syrup.

There are other measures at home that can be used to help reduce the chances of spreading school sores, such as the use of antiseptic soaps, cutting your child’s fingernails and good hygiene. More detailed advice for your specific needs can be discussed in a consultation with your doctor.

Lice or nits

Head lice are easy for kids to get once they go to child care, preschool and school, as those small insects spread when people are in close contact. Head lice will not indicate that your child is dirty so there is nothing to be worried about, especially as they don’t carry disease.

Lice can be treated with lotions, liquids and creams without the need for a prescription. Strong smelling, these products may irritate the skin on the scalp so it’s important to read the instructions carefully.
One simple method is to use a special fine-toothed, metal lice comb with hair conditioner. The conditioner suffocates the lice and makes it easier to remove them, and can be performed every two or three days until no eggs or lice remain.

If your child has lice more than three times a year, if itching and scratching affect their sleep, or sores develop on their scalp, you may like to see your GP about other treatments for head lice.

Drastic haircuts will not prevent lice but letting your child’s child care, preschool or school know will help stop the spread as will keeping them home until the day after appropriate treatment has started.

Warts

Normally just harmless skin growth, warts can appear anywhere but are more commonly found on the face, feet and hands. Picking and scratching of warts can see them spread to others.

If not causing any problems there is no need to treat them, since half of all warts will disappear within two years. If warts are on your child’s face and causing embarrassment or elsewhere such as on the feet and are painful there are treatment options.

Some home treatments can involve ointments but they are not guaranteed to work. Treatments are available from your GP such as liquid nitrogen freezing when warts cause excessive pain or other treatments are unsuccessful. A doctor may also refer you to a skin specialist such as a paediatric dermatologist.

Taking Care Of Your Children’s Health

In addition to treating these conditions, your GP will be able to assist with immunisation and monitor your child as they grow to ensure they are reaching their developmental milestones.

Your doctor can also work with the practice nurse in taking care of minor accidents such as cuts that need stitches, burns that need dressing and plastering of some fractures. For more serious injuries your child may need a medical referral to see a specialist, have an x-ray or seek emergency treatment.