Is this normal "child health care" in Europe? (Luxembourg specifically)

(125 Posts)
NannyR Tue 31-Jan-12 19:17:35

I'm a nanny with 15 years experience of working in the UK. I've recently started working in Luxembourg, my first overseas job.

In the past few weeks I've had to take each of my three charges to the paediatrician with clear runny noses, little bit of a nighttime cough, no temp, still eating well, well enough to go to school and generally running amok around the waiting room. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with them that a couple of early nights, calpol and cough linctus or honey and lemon wouldn't sort out.

However being a professional nanny, if mum has concerns about their health then I take them to the appointments she arranges. What really shocks me is each time we have come out of the doctors with prescriptions for two different kinds of nose drops, a saline spray to squirt up their nose, anti-mucus medicine, cough medicine and antibiotics.

For the two year old the antibiotics meant a couple of days of diarrhoea and a really sore bum, which I felt was worse than the cold they were treating.

I wouldn't have even considered booking a gp appt in the uk, let alone have expected to get antibiotics for such a minor cold.

Is this normal, what European parents expect with regards to child health care? Are parents and kids in the UK more stoic, i.e. do we consider runny noses to be a normal part of childhood to be put up with rather than cured?

It just seems to me to be really over the top, as well as potentially harmful (in terms of developing resistance) to be giving "well" kids antibiotics

OP’s posts: |
natation Tue 31-Jan-12 19:25:14

It certainly sounds normal if you were in Belgium. Nose drops even for children when they have NOTHING wrong at all appears a common practice. Cough medicine for under 6s. Always a prescription. Going to a paediatrician instead of a GP. Yes I could make quite a list of the differences between the UK and Belgium, I'd imagine Luxembourg and France to be pretty similar.

AlpinePony Tue 31-Jan-12 19:30:52

Not normal IME of NL. Here they are very reluctant to prescribe antibiotics, in fact the last time we were only given them as it was Friday on a bank holiday weekend (crap timing of course!), but we were told only to start if no improvement by Saturday but preferably not to use them at all.

Not been prescribed any of the other stuff you mentioned.

AlpinePony Tue 31-Jan-12 19:32:18

Should also say: we just go to our regular GP, not a paed. The one exception to this was when we self-presented at A&E and were sent straight to paediatrics.

HereIGo Tue 31-Jan-12 19:35:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 31-Jan-12 19:39:07

My paediatrician is in Luxembourg and wouldn't want to see DD for a normal cold and she doesn't over medicate at all. So no, I don't think it is normal. But she is a young doctor - the older ones tend to overmedicate.

Unfortunately in your position I guess you don't have much of a say in the matter. I have found though that over here parents and patients in general don't feel they are getting their money's worth if they don't leave with a nice long prescription.

The saline spray up the nose does work though, but needs to be used sparingly else they hate you for it. We have a thing that you suck on to get the salined snot out. Better than a blocked nose, but as I said I would only do it once or twice a day, maybe to help clear the nose before sleeping...

Choufleur Tue 31-Jan-12 19:41:13

Don't know about Luxemborg but it's like that in France - they love suppositories there as well.


ggirl Tue 31-Jan-12 19:46:02

How old fashioned!

strictlovingmum Tue 31-Jan-12 19:48:56

Put it this way, Sil now lives in UK, originally from Italy, bless her, her DD is taken to see GP for smallest things, runny nose, no temp, bit of cough, kept from school for days for those reasons, I tried to tackle it few times and perhaps help her to relax a little bit, but it didn't work, it tends to get lot worse when MIL is visiting, then we are talking full blown Hypochondriac staff.
Completely OTT, i don't know if this is the some sort of Continental thing, or what it is? But it is over the top definitely.
She in general stresses over the child and seam to love to give her medication for every little thing, in turn child is very timid, cautious and hates to get messy, so no messy play of any sort, they seldom visit, our house is not sterile enough.sad

belgo Wed 01-Feb-12 06:46:20

No not all doctors are like that. My Belgian doctors are very strict about when they give antibiotics, although I've heard from other parents it is fairly common to send a child for a chest xray to see if the infection has gone to the chest.

Also chest infections don't seem to exist here, they always seem to get called pneumonia.

Bucharest Wed 01-Feb-12 07:15:21

Very normal in Italy.

Doctors give out antibiotics for everything and almost all the parents I know keep them in "just in case" junior sniffs. Children I reckon have about 3-4 courses of antibs every winter. The minute a temp goes over 36.5 off to the docs,a week off school and a course of antibs.

My BIL, a vet, gives his kids antibiotics to ward off colds....confused

They also use that saline stuff and have these electric inhaler things on the go all winter whether the kids are ill or not. Nobody believes me that dd has never used one.

(MIL says I don'tdo all this shit because I don't care about dd)

There was a funny article in the press recently about all the illnesses that exist only in Italy.

kreecherlivesupstairs Wed 01-Feb-12 07:29:22

Sickness of the liver Bucharest? I clearly remember being told I'd get male di fegato because I drink too much coffee.
In Switzerland you'd get the saline nose drops and nothing else. DD was given antibiotics once because she had pussy tonsils. No other time including after grommet surgery. I imagine she had an IV dose in theatre.

Ciske Wed 01-Feb-12 07:42:01

"In Europe" is a bit of a sweeping statement. When I go to the British GP, I normally walk out with prescriptions as well. I think it's more that the GP wants to feel he's done something, rather than say 'don't worry it'll pass' and leave you worrying.

franke Wed 01-Feb-12 07:42:14

I wouldn't say it's normal, but it doesn't surprise me. I think with private health insurance, whenever you visit the doctor the meter is running and some of them will wratchet up the treatments and medication because people tend to take the view "Well, the insurance is paying for it" whereas in reality we are all paying for it in ever-increasing monthly premiums. It's a real bugbear of mine here in Germany.

So op, if a doctor is faced with a rather, ahem, sensitive mother like your employer, they will pander to that rather than knock some sense into her regarding how self-limiting illnesses work. But, yeah, saline drops do work smile

doradoo Wed 01-Feb-12 08:00:52

Similar in Germany too.... where sitting in a draught will officially kill you and there are certain "illnesses - e.g kreislauf" which have no translation to English!

Kids kept home for all manner of I think minor reasons and to the Docs for the same.... we hardy Brits are made of stronger stuff than that!

Portofino Wed 01-Feb-12 08:35:41

It is my experience in Belgium too - we have a cupboard full of stuff. It doesn't help that you are only allowed one day off without a sick note - school or work - so you HAVE to go the GP even with a cold, when really all you need to wrap up in the warm for a couple of days with lemsip/calpol.

LinzerTorte Wed 01-Feb-12 08:40:38

It's all fairly normal here in Austria too, apart from the antibiotics. I can't remember the last time when any of us were prescribed antibiotics. Having said that, I don't rush off to the doctor's with every little sniffle so the opportunities for antibiotics to be prescribed are far more limited than they would be with Austrian children.

You can also catch a cold in a certain part of your body here (draughts are particularly notorious for causing these kinds of colds). I was told by a nurse at the hospital that my mastitis must have been caused by me being exposed to a draught after getting out of the shower.

LIZS Wed 01-Feb-12 08:42:42

Think it will vary even within country and system. We often came away from our Swiss paed with a carrier bag full of stuff but then we would n't go just for a cold anyway.

Fraktal Wed 01-Feb-12 08:42:45

I think there are 2 issues - one is running to the doctor every time you sneeze. That's fairly normal, much more so in countries where you have private health insurance. The other is over medicating which depends on the doctor. I've just changed paeds because our old one was wont to whip out the prescription pad.

Agree saline drops work well.

ggirl Wed 01-Feb-12 08:45:01

draughts causing colds!!! are they in a time warp?

seeker Wed 01-Feb-12 08:46:26

My sil is Spanish- and she stocks up on antibiotics when she back th because the gp here won't prescribe them. Dn spent a day in hospital being investigated by an ENT consultant because she wqsn'tntalking enough ( she was a bilingual 2 year old) and she and my db still think I should have sued the hospital because I didn't automatically have a c section because ds was big. Appqrqntly the fact that I gave birth to a 10lb 6 baby in 3 hours was just luck, and I shouldn't hqve been allowed to try. They are also always having things wrong with thier livers, and they think newt lemon juice isbthe best thing for any stomach related problem.

seeker Wed 01-Feb-12 08:47:42

Neat lemon juice. Newt lemon juice is more like witchcraft.

claireinmodena Wed 01-Feb-12 08:57:18

confirm everything Bucharest gas said about Italy!!

I am Italian but my dds were birn in the uk, and I have adopted a more relaxed approach to cilds and such. But I often get my relatives running after my dds with scarves and jumpers etc. They cant believe how rarely they get ill despite the fact they go around half naked (thats they're take on it). wink

I have to say the official guidelines are not to give any meds unless temp is at least 38 degrees, but people still hold on on the belief that 37 is a temp!!!

Theas18 Wed 01-Feb-12 08:59:26

Unfortunately a "pay per visit and per item" health system tends to encourage attendance rather than self management of minor illness (how else would the GPs/paeds earn their money?) and also the feeling , if you have paid and don't go away with a wheelbarrow of stuff is "I was swindled" hence the treatments we would consider in the UK to be placebos are common (nose spray /cough mixture for a cold etc).

I guess these countries don't have antibiotic resistance issues then LOL. Mind you, if you are giving an antibiotic for a self limiting viral illness it'll get better anyway ....


LinzerTorte Wed 01-Feb-12 09:02:09

I try to use the fact that my DC rarely get ill to persuade people that wrapping children up in 20 layers and never letting them out without a hat, scarf and gloves if it's less than 20° isn't actually a very effective illness-preventing strategy.

But apparently my DC are "hardened" because they're used to it. hmm

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