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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

DS Not well all the time...what is 'normal' amount of illness?

(16 Posts)
puppie Thu 23-Oct-08 08:50:05

Hi all,

I'm really worried about my DS. He is 13 months old today and seems to be unwell all the time. It is mostly colds and respiratory type infections. At the moment his nose is streaming, vomiting up phlegm, not eating, hacking cough. This is the fourth time in 3 months. In fact he has only been WELL for around 3 weeks of the the last 3 months. I have obviously taken him to the doctor who says it is normal for them to be sick a lot at this age but I'm wondering where the line is drawn between normal/time to be worried about it.

Any advice would be really welcome as I'm start to work myself up into a panic!

ummadam Thu 23-Oct-08 09:27:52

It is truly horrid isn't it!

On average we would say they are entitled to 12 in 12 months as normal and more if they are at nursery or have school age siblings. My DS has been snotty and coughing for the past three months with barely a break, he is otherwise healthy and still breastfed so gets my immunity to a lot of things - but his Daddy brings home extra bugs from work when all his patients cough on him

How is he when he is unwell - you mention not eating but how is his breathing etc? I would not be at all worried by a happy snotty little boy who only wants to eat a little at a time because his nose is blocked and is otherwise well and playful.

I would be a little concerned by a frequently ill, grumpy, not eating and not gaining weight, unhappy, constantly wheezing child and if that fits the picture more I would recommend getting him weighed at the HV clinic and then popping to see your GP with his red book to discuss if there might be any reasons why he is getting repeated infections. In particular I would ask about whether testing for cystic fibrosis might be appropriate (IF he is not gaining weight and constantly ill when he gets colds with no obvious reason) - it is usually picked up on the heel prick test at birth now so don't worry but just for completeness and not missing something where treatment would help.

Anna8888 Thu 23-Oct-08 09:33:14


Does your DS spend much time in a germy environment - nursery or crèche or public transport or toddler group? Do you take him outside a lot.

You might want to think about reducing his exposure to germs for a while in order to get him back in good health.

DumbledoresGirl Thu 23-Oct-08 09:36:41

I think it depends on how much he is exposed to germs. My first child was hardly ill at all as a baby, but my second one caught his first cold at 8 days old, my second had a cold every month of the first year of her life, and my fourth had a cold every 2 weeks of most of his first year. Literally, runny noses etc were normal.

As long as your little one is eating and gaining weight, I shouldn't think you have anything to worry about.

And the more they get early on, the less they seem to get later. My children (school age now) are virtually never ill.

puppie Thu 23-Oct-08 09:45:53

Ummadam sometimes he is cheerful with it sometimes not. This time he is not bless him. I have also looked up Cystic fibrosis but he is a healthy weight so dont think its that. Although I have not discussed with GP so might just get it ruled out.

Anna8888 he is at childminder (although when speaking to childminder about his illness she said to me that he would not catch it from other children there but rather from me and DH as children tend to only catch their parents colds hmm )

Dumbledoresgirl good to know your DCs have gotten over it!

DumbledoresGirl Thu 23-Oct-08 10:01:43

Your childminder is speaking nonsense. He will pick colds up from whoever sneezes or coughs near him. Could be you, (unlikely though if you have not had a cold! hmm) could be a child at the childminders, or could be a stranger you pass in the street.

I realise after I had posted that you said he was not eating. That must worry you, but it is normal when a child is as bunged up as yours is. Just keep tempting him with little things and be reassured by his good weight gain.

Anna8888 Thu 23-Oct-08 10:04:24

Hmm agree with Dumbledoresgirl that your CM is talking rubbish.

Is her house clean? The trouble with all environments where children are kept together is that they pass on their germs at an amazing rate. If children are sharing toys etc your CM really ought to be putting them in the dishwasher overnight night.

ummadam Thu 23-Oct-08 10:23:28

that is good news I'm glad he is doing well with his weight.

Your childminder is either ignorant or lying. He is far more likely to catch it from other children than you two as he probably has most of your bugs already!

If he is otherwise doing well I wouldn't worry too much (hard I know). Offer him food little and often and concentrate in quality not quantity (high calorie foods, fruit and veg for his immune system and make sure he is getting enough protein (meat, fish eggs). Karvol and Olbas oil can be very good at de-bunging their little noses as can a warm bath in a steamy room before bed.

Wherever he gets bugs from it is a normal part of growing up and actually really good for him (but tough for you!). Exposing his immune system to reasonable germs (ie coughs and colds not salmonella ;) ) helps his immune system learn what to do so it can respond better if there is a severe infection. Current research also suggests that giving the immune system something to deal with stops it getting bored and looking for trouble and can help prevent auto-immune diseases and things like asthma. (This is what I remind myself when I'm up all night with DS - it is not forever and it is one less cold he will have later!)

puppie Thu 23-Oct-08 10:39:50

Thank you all! DH and I will keep this in mind in the small hours again tonight grin

beeper Thu 23-Oct-08 13:55:45

My DS1 was like that and I had to wait to do his MMR (god forgive me) because he was always dogged by colds, ear infections etc.

I took him to a homeopath and she treated him for the MMR and he improved alot, although he still gets things easily, but IMHO it in NOT normal for a child to be ill all the time, it suggests to me a underlying problem such as an impaired immune system. I would reccomened getting some info on boosting his system.

Try cutting out dairy while he is ill, also bin and white bread, rice, pasta, sugar as this supresses the system.

beeper Thu 23-Oct-08 13:57:21

LOL 12 cold in 12 months that means one every month thats not right, thats what doctors say to cover thier backs. I know plenty of children who only have one or two, three at most.

beeper Thu 23-Oct-08 13:58:43

Also how many anti biotics has he had, I would suggest not having anymore as if you have them all the time your immune system is trashed and you get repeat infections every six weeks.

midnightexpress Thu 23-Oct-08 14:03:36

DS1 had a spell of several months when he was a similar age (starting about 10 mnths) when he was ill constantly - colds, d&v, chest infections, you name it. It seemed like he was never well. It coincided with him starting nursery and coming into contact with lots of new people. So

a your CM is talking out of her *rse
b it's not that unusual - other mums have said much the same to me.
c if it's any consolation, he's now nearly 3 and as strong as an ox. V rarely ill, even with colds.

EmKathryn Thu 23-Oct-08 15:16:07

Reading your message brought back so many memories for me. Our second ds was hospitalised at 12 weeks with chest infection. It was a nightmare, and signaled the start of a series of colds/respiratory infections.

He was 4 months old for his first Christmas and it was a horrible time. He wouldn't sleep/feed properly and my sister's husband (who is a doctor) suggested cystic fibrosis.

New Year 2008 we saw a hospital consultant who was very sympathetic and knowledgable, explained that he was getting big brothers infections etc etc.

I'm thrilled to say that he has had no infections since he was 13 months. I think he's grown out of it?!

Please stay positive, this might just be a "phase". Good luck.

ummadam Thu 23-Oct-08 15:22:34

beeper - I'm a doctor and that is what I say about my own child - not covering my back. Some children are lucky - others get more, an average of one a month is what we consider normal and that could mean a couple each month in the winter but ok in the summer for example, but as I said above it depends how unwell they are each time.

DumbledoresGirl Thu 23-Oct-08 17:57:38

Beeper, my youngest (of four) caught a cold every couple of weeks when a baby. Some of those colds gave him croup and some made him vomit through coughing, etc. There is nothing wrong with him, he just had 3 siblings, a mother, a father and goodness knows who else introducing every bug they came across to him. In his second year, he got less colds and so it went on until he started school. He then had no days off school at all throughout Reception and has not had any of yet so far in Year One despite getting one very mild cold a few weeks back.

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