We’re seeing an increase in severe respiratory illness in children as restrictions ease and people mix more, with cases higher than usual for this time of year and further increases expected over winter months.

Parents are encouraged to look out for symptoms of severe respiratory infection in at-risk children, including a high temperature of 37.8°C or above (fever), a dry and persistent cough, difficulty feeding, rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing).

For the majority of children, these illnesses will not be serious and they will soon recover following rest and plenty of fluids.

Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks, but parents should contact their GP or call NHS 111 if:

  • Their child struggles to breath.
  • Their child has taken less than half their usual amount during the last 2 or 3 feeds, or they have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more.
  • The child has a persistent high temperature of 37.8C or above.

Some children under 2, especially those born prematurely or with a heart condition, can suffer more serious consequences from these common respiratory infections. 

Find out about the symptoms and what to do here.

Alternatively, if you are worried your child may have Coronavirus, find out what to do here.

Watch Dr Tania Hussain, local GP and Primary Care Clinical Lead for Maternity, Children and Young People explain the illness, signs, symptoms and offer helpful advice:

Boloh helpline:

To reduce increased pressure on local healthcare systems, Barnardo’s has been funded by NHS England and Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to provide a helpline advising on respiratory illnesses, focused on supporting parents/carers from Black, Asian and Minority communities.

The Boloh helpline can provide advice, guidance and signposting support to partners/carers who are unsure about what to do if their child has a chest infection. We can provide information about:

  • Chest infections in their child
  • How to access the right health support
  • Self-managing respiratory infections at home

Helpline advisors can also provide parents/carers with practical support to meet their child’s needs, including help to register with a GP.

Parents/carers can call Boloh helpline on 0800 151 2605.

Our helpline advisors are trained to provide advice about respiratory illnesses in children aged 0-3. Our advisors can provide a service in English, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Albanian, Mirpuri, Polish, Luganda, Ruyankole, Rukiga, Rutooro and Kinyarwanda. Interpreters can be provided for other languages.

You can find information on Barnardo’s website: https://helpline.barnardos.org.uk/

More information: