Health and Wellbeing

Childhood respiratory infections rise ahead of winter 

Doctor listening to a child's back using a stethoscope

Posted on: 6 August 2021

Parents and carers are encouraged to know the signs of respiratory illnesses in young children, as data published by Public Health England show cases starting to rise in parts of the country. 

We’re not talking about coronavirus, but respiratory illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which can cause a cough or cold, that are very common in young children and are seen every year. 

But last winter, when we’d usually see them, the restrictions in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus kept these other viruses at bay. There were far fewer infections in younger people, meaning many will not have developed immunity, so now there’s a possibility that there will be more cases this year than in a typical season. 

For most children, these illnesses are not serious and they’ll soon recover following rest and plenty of fluids. For others though, under two years old and those born prematurely or with a heart condition, it can be more serious. 

There’s more information, including what to look out for and when to seek medical advice, on the government’s website.

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