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Dr Laura Ryan: How to help a child’s cold and bowel screening changes

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A child with a cold.
A child with a cold.

Advice from a doctor on your health problems.

Q. Now my kids are back at school I’m noticing a lot more illnesses like colds, sniffles etc. Is there anything to stop this?

A. Young children get colds quite often because their immune system is still developing.

It’s not usually serious and normally passes within two weeks. Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent a cold or a cure for the cold itself. If your child has symptoms of Covid-19 then you will need to follow the latest Scottish Government guidelines on testing and self-isolation.

However you can look after symptoms by:

  • resting, drinking plenty of fluids and eating healthily;
  • taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to reduce any fever or discomfort;
  • using decongestant sprays or tablets to relieve a blocked nose;
  • trying remedies such as gargling salt water and sucking on menthol sweets.

Many painkillers and decongestants are available from pharmacies without a prescription. They’re generally safe for older children and adults to take, but might not be suitable for babies, young children, pregnant women, people with certain underlying health conditions, and those taking certain other medications.

Q. I was expecting to get my bowel screening kit last year and still haven’t received it.

A. You may not receive your kit on the expected date. This is due to a pause in the screening programme because of the pandemic.

Invitation dates have been moved back. For example, if you expected your kit in September 2021, you’ll now receive it in April 2022. This is to make sure everyone receives their kit and no one is missed out.

The main symptoms of bowel cancer are blood in the stools (faeces), a change in bowel habit and tummy pain. Please contact your GP with any concerns.

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