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NHS South Yorkshire and the Children and Young Person’s Alliance (NHS SY CYP) are encouraging parents to be prepared, as children across the region head back to school.

As families up and down South Yorkshire send their children back to school after the summer holidays, we know it’s usual for children to catch common viruses and bugs. Whether this is their first term or their fifth year, it’s vital for families to take some simple steps to reduce the spread of illnesses and keep children well.

South Yorkshire Children Young Person’s Alliance brings together all organisations across the region that support young people, such as schools, hospitals, primary care to work together and improve life chances.

Dr Nicola Jay, Consultant Paediatrician of Allergy at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Make sure to have age-appropriate paracetamol and/or children’s ibuprofen in your cupboard as we start the first term and those colder winter months. Winter virus season is approaching so it’s a good idea to stock up your medicine cupboard.

“As well as coughs and colds, tummy bugs can be common too. If they’re sick, keep them at home to rest, away from classmates and keep them hydrated.”

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Healthier Together website has lots of advice from experts in children’s health, including what to do if your child has a tummy bug.

As the weather turns colder, cold and flu viruses circulating can make respiratory conditions worse. Children who have asthma should take their asthma preventor inhaler regularly and their reliever should be available at school or in their school bag.

If your child is ill and you are unsure what to do, your local pharmacist can help with a wide range of minor illness and ailments including colds, flu, and vomiting bugs, without booking an appointment.

At the start of term, families must make sure their children or young people are up to date with their vaccinations. Vaccines are the best protection we have against dangerous viruses like flu.

Flu vaccines will be starting in the autumn and kids will be offered it at school or at their GP practice if your child has long-term condition or is clinically vulnerable.

Children aged between school years reception and year 11 will be offered a nasal spray vaccine at school. Previously only children aged up to school year 7 were offered the vaccine. This year, to protect more people, children in years 8 to 11 will also be offered the vaccine.

For more information about common childhood illnesses, including advice on what 'red-flag' signs to look out for, where to seek help if required and how long your child's symptoms are likely to last, visit the Healthier Together website here.