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Need medical advice for your little one? Here’s how your local pharmacist can help with lots of common childhood complaints

When your baby or toddler is sick, your first instinct might be to head straight to the doctors. But your pharmacists are also trained to help with many common illnesses in babies and young children.

This can be really useful for those times when your GP surgery has no appointments left, you need help out of hours or you aren’t sure if your little one needs to see a doctor at all. “All Tesco pharmacists are fully trained so they can help with lots of common problems,” says Tesco Pharmacy Manager, Esra Doganguzel.

So, which queries can your in-store pharmacist help you and your little one with?

1. “What’s this rash?”

A baby’s sensitive skin can be prone to rashes. These could be the result of an allergy, bite or sting. “We can tell you if a rash is anything to worry about,” says Esra. “If the child is under six months and has a fever, if there’s also any bruising (not due to an injury) or the rash has small, flat, red spots that don’t fade when you press on them, we would ask you to see your GP.”

For rashes caused by allergies or a bite, the pharmacist can help by recommending a product suitable for the child’s age. “For example, if it’s an allergic rash we would recommend Piriton for a child over one, and a calamine cream to soothe the area,” says Esra.

2. “How do you treat a minor burn?”

For superficial burns, your pharmacist can recommend a suitable antiseptic cream or wash, as well as bandages and dressings. “We can suggest a soothing cream for minor burns,” explains Esra. “However, if the burn is larger than a 50p coin, you need to see a doctor. This is because the larger the area, the higher the risk of getting an infection.”

3. “What’s best for colds and flu for kids?”

Young children’s immune systems are still building up and aren’t as strong as adults’, which means they normally get about eight colds a year. “Unless they bring up green phlegm, which is a sign of infection, most colds are viral so don’t need prescription antibiotics,” says Esra. Little ones just need over-the-counter medicines and good rest.

As children get sick quite often, it’s a good idea to know which medicine is suitable for their age. “For children under six with coughs we recommend a syrup called glycerol to soothe the throat,” suggests Esra. “If your child has a temperature, I’d recommend Calpol or Nurofen – depending on suitability ­– and saline drops to clear congestion.”

It’s also a good idea to buy an oral, rectal or under-arm thermometer. “If your child has a fever (over 37.5°C) and is under three months, we recommend she see a doctor,” says Esra. “The same applies for babies over three months if you can’t reduce the fever with Calpol or Nurofen.”

4. “My child has a sticky eye”

Eye problems are common in children. If the eye is sticky, pink or watery, then it’s likely to be an infection, like conjunctivitis. “We can suggest an eye ointment or drops to help,” says Esra. However, do see your doctor if your child is under two and presenting with sticky eye symptoms.

5. “I need some general advice about my baby’s health”

Your pharmacist can also support parents with everyday baby worries, from constipation and colic to teething. “A number of minor complaints can be sorted through the pharmacy,” says Esra. “If the child has colic symptoms, we can give colic infant drops. For teething, we would recommend Ashton & Parsons Infant Powder and children’s Bonjela.” The pharmacist will also let you know if you need to see the doctor.

6. “My child has caught head lice”

Once little ones start nursery or preschool, parents discover first-hand how quickly contagious bugs, like head lice, threadworm and verrucas, spread between children in close contact.

“We have treatments for head lice available, like Full Marks and Hedrin, which are very good,” says Esra. “We also sell nit combs. Threadworm can affect the whole family, so we have family pack treatments suitable for children over three.”

7. “How does this prescription work?”

When picking up a new prescription for your little one, the pharmacist can provide plenty of information, including possible side effects and when to take the medicine.

“For example, if your child has been given an inhaler for the first time, we can show you how to use it,” says Esra. “We’ll also tell you any issues to look out for. If a child starts trembling or shaking after using an inhaler, it means you’ve given them too much.”

Each Tesco Pharmacy has a direct phone number, so it’s easy to get in touch if you want to ask a pharmacist about a particular medicine after you’ve left the shop or your child is too poorly to come in. “We always put our phone number on the prescription label so you can call us any time you need help,” says Esra.

For more information, ask your Tesco pharmacist. Use the store locator tool to find your nearest Tesco Pharmacy. Always make an appointment with your doctor if you are concerned about your baby’s health.