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A helping hand on children’s health

The authors of When Your Child is Sick, Prof Alf Nicholson, Consultant Paediatrician, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, and Ms Grainne O’Malley, professional writer, want to empower parents to help their sick children.

Parents can do more to help if they have reliable information at hand, and as Prof Nicholson points out from over 20 years’ experience of working with children, most ailments are minor and can often be treated at home.

This handy reference book, which is just over 300 pages, helps identify what is wrong, how to treat the illness at home and how to know when you need to call a doctor.

When Your Child is Sick covers the top 20 ailments children will face as they grow, and these make up the first, largest section of the book.

This handy reference book, which is just over 300 pages, helps identify what is wrong, how to treat the illness at home and how to know when you need to call a doctor

Topics include feeding problems, constipation, allergies, sleeping issues, colic, asthma and eczema. Causes and symptoms as well as treatments are covered, along with myth-busting and ‘traffic light charts’ for certain illnesses to know when a trip to the doctor is needed.

There are also sections in this book that focus on the ‘new illnesses’ of childhood, such as obesity, asthma, allergies and ADHD. This new and revised edition also contains extra information on adolescent health and mental health.

One of the most common questions Prof Nicholson is asked by parents is, ‘is this normal?’ To answer those questions, there is a useful section on the normal stages of development in babies and young children, and when to be concerned.

Section three deals with what to look out for in early adolescence and the most common health risks in the pre-teen years.

This section also contains a chapter on the top six causes of injury, such as falls, burns, poisoning and choking, and gives practical prevention advice, as well as what to do if such accidents occur.

The final section of the book focuses on keeping a child healthy and contains a practical, no-nonsense chapter on vaccination, which addresses the common fears that some people have about vaccinating their children.

This section also contains a useful, concise guide to what every home medicine cabinet should contain, while there is also a chapter on natural remedies.

Overall, the book is well laid-out with bullet points, tinted panels and short paragraphs and uses clear, concise language. It takes a Q&A-style approach on each ailment, as if the reader is at the doctor’s surgery, and it is thus easy to read and digest — vital when flicking through for a quick answer when baby has a sudden-onset illness.

The book is well illustrated with plenty of practical photographs and diagrams, which are very useful, particularly when dealing with illnesses such as measles and ringworm, where visual clues are key to correct diagnosis.

This book is truly a must-have resource for any guardians of young children and the ideal gift for new parents. And this new edition is particularly timely, given the pressure free GP care for under-sixes has placed on Irish GP surgeries.

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