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Childhood illnesses

What happens if your child is feeling unwell? All children get ill from time to time and many will get better by themselves and can be easily treated at home. Use our guides to find the best course of action for you and your child:

Managing minor illnesses (advice sheets)

Asthma and wheezing



Rashes and birthmarks

Caring for a sick child

Stopping germs from spreading

Managing a temperature at home


  • Small babies can become very poorly very quickly
  • You know your baby best
  • Do not wait too long if you are worried
  • Ask for help when you need it


A very ill baby may:

  • Be unusually sleepy or floppy
  • Have breathing difficulties , such as breathing fast or grunting
  • Be much less active
  • Take less than the normal feed in the previous 24 hours
  • Have less than four wet nappies in the previous 24 hours
  • Feel hot when looking pale, or they look mottled or blue
  • Has a spotty purple rash on their body could be a sign of meningitis


If you notice any of these, contact your doctor (or out of hours doctor) at once and find out what to do next. If you cannot talk to a doctor quickly, then take your baby/child to a walk-in centre, or to A&E.

Additional links and resources

Learn about first aid:

Get a first aid app:

Get top tips on child health from the Institute of Health Visitors:

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