We asked parents what messages they would give to other parents of children with a long term medical condition or disability when their child has flu or flu-like illness.
Parents advised other parents to know what’s normal for their child and to be proactive in responding to change or deterioration in their child’s symptoms. After eleven years of parenting her son with complex health needs, Michelle says, ‘If you feel that something’s not right then it probably isn’t right.’
Parents gave the following advice:
- Try, if possible, to maintain continuity of care by seeing the same GP and specialist nurse.
- Do not be afraid to get medical help early.
Nia thinks it’s beneficial to see the same doctor each time your child is ill.
Maria says try to pick up on changes in your child’s symptoms early.
- If you are unsure or don’t understand something ask questions or seek another opinion.
- Be assertive – don’t think you are wasting your doctor’s time when you ask for help.
- You know your child best. Trust your instincts.
Jo’s advice is to ask questions so that you don’t go home and worry about your child.
Nia says be proactive and seek medical advice early. If you are not happy with your GPs advice get a second opinion from an out of hours service or walk in centre.
- Try to establish a good relationship with your doctor who will get to know you and your child when all is well.
- If you suspect secondary infections or influenza: ask for tests.
- Pharmacists and nurses can give advice too.
Clare says to trust your instinct about how ill your child is and be insistent to make sure your child is not overlooked by health professionals.
Hazel says be the strongest advocate for your child.
- Talk to other parents about how they manage flu-like illness.
- Get the flu vaccine yourself so that you are well enough to look after your children.
- It may get easier to look after your child as they get older.
- Find out as much as you can about your child’s long term medical condition, use the internet.
- Attend charity support group meeting/talks.
- If your child is on a low dose of antibiotics every day talk to your doctor about whether a pro-biotic might help.
Parents whose child had experienced many illness episodes wanted to reassure others that managing their child’s flu or flu-like illness will get easier to deal with as they learn how their child’s symptoms usually develop and the best way to manage them.