Dr Sangeetha Steevart, is clinical director, Warrington Together.

In the latest of our regular columns she talks about keeping your children safe this winter

In the colder months, children under the age of five are more at risk of respiratory tract infections as they haven't built up their resistance to the many viruses that can cause these infections.

Common respiratory tract infections include common cold, tonsillitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, influenza, bronchitis, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis.

Most of these infections pass without the need for treatment and you won't usually need to see your GP.

My advice is to treat your child’s symptoms at home by encouraging them to drink plenty of fluids and taking over-the-counter pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen which can also help control fever.

In most cases, antibiotics aren't recommended because they're only effective if the infection is caused by bacteria.

This winter has also brought a rise in Strep A cases. Strep A is a common type of bacteria and most strep A infections are mild and easily treated, but some are more serious – this is called Invasive Group A Strep (iGAS).

Symptoms of a Strep A infection include flu-like symptoms such as high temperature or an aching body, a rash that feels rough, scabs and sores, nausea and vomiting, and pain and swelling.

It can be difficult to tell when a child is seriously ill, but the main thing to do is to trust your instincts.

You know better than anyone else what your child is usually like, so you’ll know when something is seriously wrong.

If your child is unwell and getting worse, is feeding or eating much less than normal, or is showing signs of dehydration, you should call NHS 111 or get an urgent GP appointment.

It is important to do what you can to reduce the risk of catching or spreading infection, which means practicing good hand hygiene, staying at home or away from others when sick, and ventilating your home so germ particles can blow away.

Remember, NHS 111 online can tell you where to get help for your symptoms if you're not sure what to do, how to find general health information and advice and where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine.

If your child is having difficulty breathing, is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake, or their skin, tongue, or lips are blue or grey call 999 or go to A&E.

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