FAMILY doctors in Worcestershire are urging parents and carers to be aware of the signs of respiratory illnesses in young children.
Illnesses like colds and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are very common in young children and are seen every year.
Last winter, due to the restrictions in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19, there were far fewer infections in younger people.
This means many will not have developed immunity and so more cases may be seen this year than in a typical season.
Local GPs say for the majority of children, these illnesses will not be serious, and they will soon recover following rest and regular fluids.
In Worcestershire, parents can download HandiApp to get up-to-date local advice about common childhood illnesses and how to treat them.
RSV is a very common virus and almost all children are infected with it by the time they are two years old.
In older children and adults, RSV may cause a cough or cold.
However, some children under two, particularly those born prematurely or with a heart condition, can suffer more serious consequences from these common infections.
Whilst RSV numbers are rising, Covid-19 also continues to be present.
Dr Louise Bramble, GP and clinical lead for women and children for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG said: “For most children these illnesses won’t be serious and they will soon recover.
“However, some children under two can experience more severe infection.
“If a child under two is suffering a cold, keep an eye on their symptoms and contact your GP practice if they appear breathless, have difficulty feeding or if you are concerned about their illness or recovery.
“It’s important we carry on with good hygiene habits that we’ve become used to during the pandemic.
“This means washing your hands regularly, particularly after catching coughs or sneezes in a tissue and staying away from others if you feel unwell.
“Although measures such as face masks and social distancing are no longer mandatory, these will continue to protect you and your children from respiratory illnesses, including RSV and Covid-19.”