Lockdown means that many children will be a “little bit sicker” this winter from common illnesses, according to GP Dr Illona Duffy.
She told The Pat Kenny Show: “Our problem at the moment is that because children have been isolating for so long, with reduced kind of contact with each other through playdates, through meeting friends, through school… it has meant that they haven’t met a lot of these common viruses that they would normally meet.
“And the prediction is that we’re going to see children that little bit sicker with these common viruses - from the common cold type symptoms, to the gastroenteritis. To everything that is similar to Covid, unfortunately.”
Those who feel unwell can check the HSE’s website UnderTheWeather, which offers advice as to whether to seek medical advice or if the illness can be treated at home.
“It’s a really good resource for all parents and adults as well,” Dr Duffy said.
“Because you can go in and it will tell you what the different symptoms that are associated with, let’s say, gastroenteritis, how to manage that. If you’ve got a cough, what to do, when do you need to contact a GP, what are the worrying signs associated with that?
“If your child has an ear infection, do they need an antibiotic - and the answer is no, 80% are viral - but how do you handle the pain that they are in and when do you know to contact your GP?”
However, she says for anyone who develops Covid-like symptoms - such as a cough or temperature - the advice is clear.
“At this point in time, if anyone does still have symptoms of a viral infection, remember it may still be Covid. And the only way to know it’s not Covid is by getting a Covid test.
“It’s still easy to get that. You can self-refer through the online portal of the HSE website or you can contact your GP or GP out of hours and we’ll do it for you.
“But the most important thing is that you stay home, that you don’t go out. You don’t go to school and you don’t go to work until you get that negative test.”
Main Image: A 12 year old receives a COVID-19 vaccine Picture by: PA Images