Common Conditions

Did you know that your GP is a specialist in assessing, treating and managing common conditions in babies and children?  Referrals can be made when further non-GP input is required.  

Eczema

  • Eczema is a very common condition in young children
  • For most children their eczema goes as they get older or reduces in severity. 
  • Eczema results from a problem in the skin barrier which is why emollients (moisturiser) are really important.  Emollient puts the extra moisturiser back into the skin that is lost.  
  • It is important not to use a moisturiser that has food products in it as this can increase the risk of developing a severe food allergy later
  • It is uncommon for eczema to be caused by something your child is eating.
  • Avoiding irritants for eczema helps reduce symptoms.  For example; bubble baths, soaps, over heating, wool.
  • Dressing in cotton clothing reduces irritation to the skin.
  • For many children using steroid creams in appropriate quantities is important to reduce infection risk and long term skin changes.
  • If you are having difficulty managing your child’s eczema or would like to know more please book an appointment with your GP.

Asthma

Asthma is a common childhood condition.  Many children will grow out of their asthma symptoms as they get older, but some will continue to have asthma.
 
Asthma gives people a wheeze (noisy breathing) when they are in situations that cause their airways to narrow and produce too much mucous.  For some people their asthma may be triggered by viral infections, dust mites, pollens, cigarette smoke and change in weather.
 
Children under 2 are not considered to have asthma, but can have a wheeze associated with viral illnesses which may or may not respond to salbutamol (ventolin/asmol).
 
It is really important that anyone with asthma has a flu vaccination each year, has an asthma action plan and knows what to do when their asthma worsens.  Your GP and our practice nurse can help you with each of these.
 
If you smoke, and your child has asthma, it is important to smoke outside and wear a smoking jacket so that your children don’t then have contact with cigarette smoke on your clothes.  If you would like to quit smoking your GP can discuss options with you.

Constipation

Constipation is a common childhood problem.  For some children this may start when they begin solids, for other children when they are toilet training or if they have a particularly painful poo one day (fear of further pain will make them hold onto their poos causing constipation).
 
Constipation can be easily treated, but once resolved it is important to stay on the treatment for months and wean slowly to prevent constipation reoccurring.
 
Some children can be so constipated that they appear to have diarrhoea, because the poo is oozing around the solid lump of constipated poo!
 
Constipation can cause stomach pain or make children more prone to urinary tract infections.
 
Your GP is very happy to talk with you and your child about poos, wees and toilet training.

Viral illnesses

  • It is very common for young children to have a viral illness 6-12 times a year.  In fact for their first few years of life it can often feel that they are just recovering from one illness when another one starts.  This is normal and doesn’t mean that there is a problem with their immune system.
     
    Bronchiolitis
    Bronchiolitis is caused by many different viral infections.  In an adult or older child it may result in cold-like symptoms, but in young babies and infants the same viruses can cause a wheeze, difficulty breathing, poor drinking and fever.
     
    The best treatment is prevention!  If you are unwell you should stay away from young babies and infants.  We understand that with older siblings this isn’t possible.
     
    Bronchiolitis treatment is all around supporting your child’s breathing and fluids while their immune system gets rid of the virus.  Sometimes this may mean admission to hospital, but usually your GP can help you manage at home with frequent reviews.  
     
    Here are some FAQ about viral illnesses that may help you:
    (insert link from viral illnesses)

Behavioural problems

Children’s behaviour can be very challenging at times.  Some children are more challenging than others.  This is because a child’s front part of their brain (frontal lobe) has not fully developed and so their judgement and ability to control their behaviour can be variable.
 
Some children have underlying causes for their challenging behaviour such as sensory processing disorders, poor speech, ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
 
There are lots of strategies that can help and it is important to realise that in these situations the child’s behaviour isn’t because of parenting or the child’s fault.
 
Please talk with your GP about your concerns.  Occupational therapists and speech pathologists can assist to provide strategies.  Sometimes there can be a long wait to access these services but your GP can provide you with simple suggestions to begin with.
 
Early intervention funding is also available via the NDIS to assist with the cost of therapy.

Developmental Problems

It can be difficult as a parent to know what is normal and what is normal.  This is where your GP can help you.  
 
We can assess your child during an appointment and talk with you around what they can and can’t do.  There is often a wide range for “normal” in development but it is important that we pick up any delays early to put interventions in place to prevent further delay.  Children who are premature are assessed upon their corrected age – how old they would be if they had been born at term.
 
Sometimes children may have a delay in one area, sometimes in multiple areas.  
 
Early intervention funding is available via the NDIS to assist with the cost of therapy to help these children catch up to their peers.