Child health alert

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HEALTH bosses are launching an alert about a lung condition which is affecting children in the town.

The Children’s Community Nursing Team is advising parents of babies and toddlers to look out for the signs of common winter breathing infections and think carefully about the kind of treatment their children might need.

Bronchiolitis is an infection that affects babies and young children and puts significant strain on NHS hospitals each year as the cold weather kicks in.

However, staff within the Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Children’s Community Nursing Team of Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust, are specially trained to treat youngsters at home.

They are urging parents to discuss with their GP how their Children’s Community Nursing Team can help.

Children’s Community Nursing Clinical Lead Nicola Swift said: “This is the time of year when casualty waiting rooms are busy with babies and children suffering from bronchiolitis, flu and other winter illnesses and we can often help.

“Bronchiolitis is one of the most common winter infections and, although we advise that parents who see severe symptoms seek emergency care urgently, in many cases their condition is mild enough to be safely managed at home or in local clinics by our team of specialist children’s nurses.

“Parents should ask their GP about the services that Children’s Community Nurses in Ashton, Leigh and Wigan can offer.”

She said that the illness is so common that it is now estimated that up to half of all children will have suffered from bronchiolitis by the time they reach two years of age.

Early symptoms are similar to those of a common cold, such as a runny nose and cough but can often develop to include a raised temperature, dry and persistent coughing and difficulty feeding.

Ms Swift said: “With regular monitoring and enough fluids, the vast majority of babies and toddlers recover in a couple of weeks. During that time, we can offer parents peace of mind by visiting when required, helping them to avoid the inconvenience of an unnecessary visit to hospital and ensuring more children can stay at home with their families.

“Only in the most severe cases admission to hospital required, such as when a child has difficulty feeding or breathing or has underlying health issues.”