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Ask Dr. Pixie McKenna your Q about children's health in winter and you could win a £150 Love2Shop voucher! ANSWERS NOW BACK

(199 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 21-Nov-16 09:39:03

As we head into the colder months, sniffles and sneezes may become more common. Courtesy of Nurofen for Children, we’ve teamed up with Dr. Pixie McKenna who is on hand to answer your questions on keeping your children healthy this winter, specifically looking at colds and flu, fever and sleep difficulties. As well as being a medical expert, Pixie is also a mother so she’s had first-hand experience of looking after her own child and is here to share her top tips and advice with you.

Here’s a little bit more about Dr. Pixie:

Pixie comes from a family background of medicine, being the third generation of doctors in her family. She has over 13 years of medical experience since qualifying and is currently a practising GP at London’s Harley Street.

Post your questions to Dr. Pixie by the 27th November and we will pick 20 for her to respond to. Everyone who posts a question will be entered into a prize draw where one lucky Mumsnetter will win a £150 Love2Shop voucher. A link to her responses will be posted by 4 January.

Please note, Dr. Pixie is here to give advice but cannot mention, discuss or endorse any brands or products.

This Q&A is sponsored by Nurofen for Children. Nurofen for Children 3 months- 9 years. Contains Ibuprofen. Always Read the label




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NauticalDisaster Mon 21-Nov-16 12:46:07

Is there any way to help prevent a child developing sticky ear or glue ear when they get a cold? My youngest is 3 and I thought he would gave grown out of it by now but it looks like he has another sticky ear.

Rosehips Mon 21-Nov-16 12:56:54

What's the best way to prevent kids bringing germs home from school?

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Mon 21-Nov-16 13:14:26

My mum advises me to give the children a lot of fluids when they have colds to "flush it out". Is this correct?
And is there any truth in the saying, Feed a cold, starve a fever?

WuTangFlan Mon 21-Nov-16 13:23:08

What's the best way to look after kids' skin in winter, to stop it getting dry and sore? DD (age 7) in particular suffers on her hands and around her mouth - when she has a cold and runny nose, it gets much worse too.

Quills Mon 21-Nov-16 13:53:37

Have you got any tips to help children sleep at night when they're struggling with a chesty cough?

Yummum19 Mon 21-Nov-16 14:22:11

When does a bad cough warrant a trip to the GP to check it's not a chest infection?

Realitea Mon 21-Nov-16 14:22:26

As the whooping cough vaccine starts to wear off at around the age of 10-12 why is a booster not given in this country?

Belmo Mon 21-Nov-16 16:35:23

Anything to be done about the constant constant colds?!

CopperPan Mon 21-Nov-16 16:54:55

Mine are always suffering from throat infections in winter. What is the best way to improve their long term immunity from this?

LittleMoonbuggy Mon 21-Nov-16 17:41:25

What's the best way to prevent children from catching constant colds during winter?

peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 18:09:50

Any tips for encouraging a toddler/older baby to take an inhaler?

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown Mon 21-Nov-16 19:06:18

My DD is unwell from the beginning of Autumn to the beginning of Spring every year.

If it's not a stinking cold it's a nasty cough, impetigo, recurrent ear infections, glue ear, conjunctivitis- you name it, she gets it! My younger daughter looks set to be the same and it really is one thing after another with at most a few days of being well in between.

The GP has told me this is perfectly normal but my son was never like this. She has a bunch of social and emotional problems and has been absolutely miserable every autumn/winter of her life. She's only 4 and I hate to see her suffer this way.

Is it really that common to be unwell so much? And is there anything I can do to prepare for these seasons other than vaccinations and vitamins?

WishIWasSleeping Mon 21-Nov-16 19:57:48

My little one has had a cough since the beginning of September. It's showing no signs of getting better. We visited the GP after a couple of weeks who said it was viral. She coughs so much (mainly during sleep time) that she has episodes of struggling to catch her breath and scares herself, which makes her cry. It's disruptive to everyone's sleep pattern - is it really just a cold to go on for this long? I'm at a bit of a loss. She drinks and eats well most of the time. What else can I do to help soothe her throat? We are also teething which gives her a fever for every new tooth breaking through!
She's currently 10.5months old. (All mum advice appreciated!)

Cherubneddy1 Mon 21-Nov-16 20:25:48

When should you consult a dr when a child has ear ache? I was told once by a GP that it's when they also have a temperature, but another dr told me that wasn't the case!

EstelleRoberts Mon 21-Nov-16 20:43:09

What can be done about horrendous motion sickness in a 16 month old? By horrendous, I mean full-on projectile vomiting within, literally, less than 5 minutes in the car, or less than 3 stops on a London bus?

KevinMcCallister Mon 21-Nov-16 20:44:52

Hi Pixie, What's your advice for chilblains?

IncaAztec Mon 21-Nov-16 21:03:22

Any tips to avoid (or even treat) conjunctivitis? Seems to be a Winter treat my gang come down with after a heavy cold.

MakeTeaNotWar Mon 21-Nov-16 22:26:11

Are growing pains a real thing? My 4 year old often wakes at night with pains in his legs. He usually settles back down quickly but is definitely in pain. No problems during the day

purplepandas Mon 21-Nov-16 22:41:46

any tips for stopping dry chapped lips? Vaseline does not stay on.

EasterRobin Mon 21-Nov-16 22:53:44

My daughter is nearly two and has just missed out on getting free meningitis vaccinations so we're getting it done privately. I've heard other mums talking about having other vaccinations (eg chicken pox, flu) done privately... Would you recommend getting additional vaccines done beyond the standard NHS ones?

PinkSwimGoggles Mon 21-Nov-16 22:58:56

my 10yo is a worrier which sometimes causes problems falling asleep.
what can we do to help?

FeelingSmurfy Mon 21-Nov-16 23:27:04

What are the signs to look out for that indicate it's gone past a viral infection and should be seen by a Dr

You don't want to take them for every sniffle, especially as there is no real treatment for viral infections, but it's worrying not knowing when to say enough is enough and get medical advise

foxessocks Tue 22-Nov-16 04:20:33

I have an 12 week old who is constantly catching colds from his big sister. At what point is a trip to the GP needed with such a young baby?

LapinR0se Tue 22-Nov-16 09:30:03

What can be done about horrendous motion sickness in a 16 month old? By horrendous, I mean full-on projectile vomiting within, literally, less than 5 minutes in the car, or less than 3 stops on a London bus?

Unfortunately I have the same question. This is totally limiting our lives right now as I just cannot face any sort of journey with my 2-year old. Ours is ok for 15 mins but then starts to vomit and doesn't stop until the journey is over. On journeys of 2 hrs + she gets so sick that she goes floppy and becomes dehydrated.

I have tried alternative therapies such as ginger, acupressure bands, newspaper under the car seat, window open, CD of songs on, eating dry crackers, not eating before journeys, eating before journeys, driving at nap this point I think we need some medication if anything is available. Would love your advice on that please.

EstelleRoberts Tue 22-Nov-16 09:43:17

Lapin we are really restricted too. It's so frustrating, and frankly unhealthy for all concerned to never go anywhere other than on foot. But the suffering is so bad I won't put my DD through it unless it's really necessary. I have found Piriton helps, but it makes my DD really drowsy for 3-4 hours. So no good at all for short journeys. If we wanted to take her to the zoo she would just sleep all the way round and not see anything.

Anononoo Tue 22-Nov-16 10:10:20

My DC refuse to wear coats. Is there really any association between being underdressed and getting ill?

ThomasRichard Tue 22-Nov-16 10:16:02

Do vitamin supplements and macrobiotic drinks actually make any difference in boosting a child's immune system?

Badders123 Tue 22-Nov-16 10:27:47

My 8 year old ds has never had chickenpox (or if he has it has been sub clinical)
He was very poorly last year with primary herpatic gingivostomatitis
Would it be a good idea to get him vaccinated against chicken pox?

DinosaursRoar Tue 22-Nov-16 10:33:06

What can be done to help children who have constaintly snotty dripping noses at this time of year - my DC2 seems to always be sore under her nose from constaint wiping. sad

Re car sickness, my eldest is still bad on more than about 10 minutes in the car. He got better after going forward facing, so if you are still rear facing, stop that - making sure he could look out of the front window was good and keeping him cool, fresh air - not air con (so windows open in the rain and snow unfortunately!), no coat on, a bottle of water for him to sip and just accept long journeys will need several stops for him to walk around and calm his stomach back down. He's oddly fine on planes and trains, so we tend to avoid holidays that involve driving very far and can get to Gatwick in under an hour, which is about his limit in the car.

I also had bad car sickness as a child, which only got better when I moved into the front of the car - sorry this is a long term problem - I still get ill on ferries if I'm not outdoors in the fresh air! (And did do a crossing to france in the snow outside to avoid chundering)

Gaybiesftw Tue 22-Nov-16 11:11:37

How can you stop little ones from passing colds between them?

LapinR0se Tue 22-Nov-16 11:19:02

estelle I am in Switzerland and just spoke to the paediatrician on the phone and she has recommended a thing called Itinerol B6. It's a suppository that you give 30 mins before the journey and it is anti-emetic. It's available over the counter so I will give it a go and see!

Would love Pixie'a advice too please, Pixie I love your kind no nonsense approach on EB

deplorabelle Tue 22-Nov-16 11:39:05

Is there anywhere I can get flu vaccination for my 11yo? He has very mild asthma and doesn't currently take inhaled steroids so not eligible on the nhs. My younger son is eligible on nhs but last year our GP surgery admin broke down and he did not receive an appointment (I couldn't make one until the letter came confirming eligibility. It didn't)

I'd like to know about motion sickness too

mouldycheesefan Tue 22-Nov-16 12:35:36

How do you break the cough and cold cycle of it going constantly round the fsmily? Is there anything that can be done to boost immunity at this time of year to help ward them off as once one fsmily member has it, the other shall get it too!

starlight36 Tue 22-Nov-16 13:26:11

Another cough question? How long would you expect a 4 year old child to have a hacking cough before you would want to see them. Our pharmacist recommended some glucose syrup to ease my son's thrust but suggested after two days we should be going to the doctor. He has had the cough for over two weeks - it is generally worse at night but he has no temperature and his chest doesn't sound too wheezy.

mikado1 Tue 22-Nov-16 13:36:03

Can swimming increase ear infections? Is there anything that helps prevent them?

FranksBobot Tue 22-Nov-16 14:05:59

My 1 year old is a belly sleeper and has been since she could roll over. This causes huge sleep disturbance when she has a cold as the usual tricks of raising the mattress etc make no difference to her. She will not stay on her back no matter what we try. Do you have any tips to make it easier for her to breath / sleep with a blocked nose and cough?

Carriemac Tue 22-Nov-16 14:32:48

What do you think of supplements in general for kids who are not picky eaters? Are they worth it?

bigmeff Tue 22-Nov-16 15:04:24

My 7 year old DS is disabled with a rare gene mutation. He can walk but short distances with a gait.
He has a verruca which is making the gait worse. One pharmacist tells me to treat it and the next says don't ... Their immunity will sort it out???

What should we do? We don't want to cause him any extra discomfort because he's nonverbal and can't communicate the pain!

glitterandtinsel Tue 22-Nov-16 17:06:18

My son looks so pale and panda eyes in winter. Should I give him vitamins and minerals or vitamins or don't bother?

PseudoBadger Tue 22-Nov-16 19:11:03

Coughs go to my DD's (age 3) chest - is this likely to carry on throughout her childhood?

PseudoBadger Tue 22-Nov-16 19:11:16


Mamatallica Tue 22-Nov-16 19:37:36

I'd love some advice on dealing with reflux please, my baby is 14 weeks and I hate seeing him in pain.
He's taking infant gaviscon and I've propped his Moses basket up at one end on books but he's still struggling and spitting up white cheesy stuff that smells of vomit.

lozengeoflove Tue 22-Nov-16 19:51:54

What, if any, is the link between teething and colds? My seven month old gets runny nose, streaming eyes and coughs whenever he's cutting teeth. His sleep and mine is disturbed and he just looks unwell.
Is it just a coincide or do colds and teething go hand in hand?

bettycat81 Tue 22-Nov-16 20:52:23

Do Saline nasal sprays help prevent colds?

GeekyWombat Tue 22-Nov-16 21:02:45

My six month old has had a cough for over a month, which the GP has diagnosed as bronchiolitis. I know there's no antibiotics or anything that can be prescribed to help it unless it's really full-on (and I'm very thankful that it's not that full on - his cough is nasty and crackly but it's not like we're having to take him to hospital for oxygen or anything). But what - if anything - can I do to help him shift it and feel more comfortable of a night (which is when the worst coughing fits happen)? Do you recommend the plug in vaporiser things? Is there anything else that might help? Thanks for your help.

TulipsInAJug Tue 22-Nov-16 21:41:45

My almost-four year old has had a cough for three weeks. She coughs at night time, mostly; a bit during the day but not as much. She has no other symptoms, except she looks a little pale. She's generally in good form during the day.

When should I get worried, if the cough continues?

EstelleRoberts Tue 22-Nov-16 23:36:32

Thanks Lapin, I will look into that. I hope it works for your DC.

GruffaloPants Wed 23-Nov-16 00:09:23

My 5yo used to suffer from eczema related to food allergies. She is now prone to dry, cracked skin around the edge of her lips in cold weather. What's the best way to prevent/treat this? She's prone to wiping off ointments etc!

VilootShesCute Wed 23-Nov-16 12:09:23

Should my 9 and 4 year olds get the flu vaccine?

Theimpossiblegirl Wed 23-Nov-16 12:34:20

I also want to know about the flu vaccine. Who should have it? Is it just high risk groups and essential workers or should we be considering vaccinating ourselves and our children?

Sammyislost Wed 23-Nov-16 13:48:19

Something I never thought about before, but should pain relief medication for children such as ibruprofen and paracetamol products only be given with food? I've often heard it said with adult medication 'Take with food' or not to take on an empty stomach.

Thanks pixie and mumsnet

TheFlounder Wed 23-Nov-16 18:53:55

My DS has terrible (looks like a burn victim when it flares) eczema and is on a steroid cream. How do I find the balance between keeping his skin good enough that he is comfortable but not risk thinning his skin? It's getting worse with winter.

PorridgeAgainAbney Wed 23-Nov-16 19:59:34

My 3 year old has asthma and I hear conflicting advice about whether I should keep the heating on at night because breathing cold, damp air aggravates the airways, or keep it off because warm dry air does the same thing! What is the best atmosphere for him to sleep in?

MrsOllyMurs Thu 24-Nov-16 09:34:01

My 10 year old hates blowing his nose and is constantly bunged up. Any tips?

Strawclutching Thu 24-Nov-16 13:38:18

How do you encourage toddlers to take medicine? Mine used to live it but was sick recently while taking it and now she's convinced it makes her sick.

LynseyH Thu 24-Nov-16 13:53:17

Is there really a way to boost immunity? For example, do vitamins really help?

pinkunicornsarefluffy Thu 24-Nov-16 14:07:58

What is the best thing for a blocked nose when your child won't blow their nose? Currently put Olbas Oil on a tissue.

WowOoo Thu 24-Nov-16 18:14:57

My question has been asked but it's about wearing coats.

I'm starting to sound like my mother and my nana but my son insists he's 'fine' when i try to get him to put his coat on. I keep telling him he'll catch a cold and get ill. Is there truth in it? If I can tell him that a doctor said so he might even put a coat on!

OldBooks Thu 24-Nov-16 18:37:14

Another one wondering when to go to the GP, especially with persistent coughing. My daughter has a cough that just will not fully go away. She coughs so much at night that she vomits. The cough seems mucousy and productive yet the GP says her chest is clear. I therefore assume it is croup? Is there anything I can do to help her? Her baby sister has now started the barking cough too confused

Coffeechick Thu 24-Nov-16 19:25:50

Is there anything you can recommend to keep facial skin moisturised and protected in this cold weather and heating in a child with eczema

KarenCBC Thu 24-Nov-16 22:25:48

My toddler has had a cough and cold for weeks now. Its definitely not serious but at what point, if ever, do I take him to the doctor just to check it out. I'v been leaving it but my mum keeps commenting. I just don't want to waste a doctor's time.

Whoateallthecheese Fri 25-Nov-16 19:54:58

Apart from hand washing and adhering to the 48h rule of no contact, is there anything that can be done to prevent - or at least protect against - stomach bugs?

farmergirl29 Fri 25-Nov-16 22:12:32

Is it best to keep my little girl (15 months) in when she is full of cold? When I have a cold I like to get out for a walk and fresh air but I don't know whether I am better to keep her in and warm.

Sweepingchange Fri 25-Nov-16 23:00:11

Would you recommend that a 13 yr old girl has a flu jab? She is in good general health but growing like a week and has a very rigorous school regime (continental Europe) - if she misses one or two days through illness it is very difficult to catch up. I would very much appreciate your advice; thank you! (I was also wondering whether or not having flu jabs during adolescence prevents natural immunity developing.)

GuessHowMuchILoveGin Sat 26-Nov-16 00:56:10

Does anything really work for mouth ulcers in children? I suffered awfully with these as a child and noticed DS had one the other day which looked really painful.

I used to be advised to put salt on them... But is waiting and a diet of ice cream all that can be done?

libra101 Sat 26-Nov-16 06:51:18

I heard recently that research has now found a way to cure the common cold: is this true?

essexchic Sat 26-Nov-16 06:51:52

Hi, My toddler has had a heavy cold for over a week now, he has a wheezy chest and cough and runny nose, been giving calpol. snuffle babe, vapour plug ins, the trouble is he is also teething so off food just drinking milk, do you think he needs to be seen by GP? or is there anything else i can do?

ThemisA Sat 26-Nov-16 06:59:33

I have always been terrified of croup - is there a fall proof cure?

ricola1 Sat 26-Nov-16 07:03:17

One of my daughters always develops a cough once I start using the heating. What can I do to prevent this?

tammypark50 Sat 26-Nov-16 07:03:57


My partner's little boy has had a persistent cough for a number of months. We took him to an out of hours doctor who suspected asthma, but hs own doctor states that he does not believe this to be what it is. His mother states that he does not cough when in her care (he states otherwise), but he coughs persistently when with us regardless as to where he is, so we don't think it's environmental. Any ideas what this could be and do we need another opinion?

Lisapaige24 Sat 26-Nov-16 07:14:41

What's the best temperature to keep a bedroom when sleeping as my son has asthma .when the weather is bad and he gets a chest infection or a cold . I have the heating on but he gets too hot and finds it hard to breathe but if I turn it off and it gets too cold he also finds it hard to breathe I have been told to keep the room at a certain temperature to help him but not sure what that is and whether this will help ?

easterlywinds Sat 26-Nov-16 07:34:05

My dd is now 10 and, although she has been exposed to the virus several times, she has never had chicken pox. Do you think it's worth getting her vaccinated. Or should we assume that she already has immunity?

vonniebab2 Sat 26-Nov-16 07:34:32

What is the best way to treat a toddler with a sore throat

barbsbarbs Sat 26-Nov-16 07:38:48

Dear Dr Pixie my children seem to get chest infections every winter without fail, is there anything I can do to boost their immunity and to avoid these. thanks

cheryl100 Sat 26-Nov-16 07:48:16

My sons feet have started peeling. They don't look infected so I wondered what this is?

jrobbs Sat 26-Nov-16 07:49:23

Is it advisable to give children vitamin supplements during Winter months ?

liane1987 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:03:29

Is there any natural remedies to try and prevent the common cold?

fzzzbucks Sat 26-Nov-16 08:20:24

There are lots of children in my son's nursery that have come down with chickenpox recently. My son has been vaccinated, but what can I do to avoid him getting it? And me too, as I've never had chickenpox.

jacqui5366 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:51:58

my son has autism and does get worried and stressed, this he can cope with with strategies, but this leads to, (I think it's connected to the stress) lots of cold sores all over his lips, sometimes 15 or 16 at a time. They do go with the creams, but I would love to prevent them as they are very unsightly, and he often gets them over Christmas because of the excitement, and stress again. I am looking for a food supplement (he takes a vitamin C supplement and has a good diet)

voyager50 Sat 26-Nov-16 08:58:51

My 7 year old gets raging earaches every winter - I used to when I was little too and I remember how painful they were. Is there anything that can be done to prevent them please?

Harper39 Sat 26-Nov-16 09:15:34

Are humidifiers safe to use when a child has a chesty cough but also suffers with asthma?

insancerre Sat 26-Nov-16 09:25:22

Is there such a thing as too much sleep for children?

Is it ever acceptable to wake children up from a daytime nap and what are the effects of waking a child up on their night time sleep?

hiddenmichelle Sat 26-Nov-16 09:39:26

conjunctivitus - do you have to see a doctor or can you just go to the pharmacy?

JodieEllie Sat 26-Nov-16 09:43:29

My LG is 4 months old. She has very smelly wee at the minute, you can smell when she's had a wee even if I've just changed her! I managed to get a urine sample and nothings come back. Should I take her back to the doctors if this problem persists? It's been going on for about 2 weeks now. Thanks

maryandbuzz1 Sat 26-Nov-16 10:01:26

Do. You recommend a daily dose of Vitamin C? If so how long should I be giving I start my son on it as winter approaches or take it on a year round basis?

ama6270 Sat 26-Nov-16 10:14:58

With schools becoming quite strict regarding taking time off for sickness what measures could I do to keep my children ( Ages 2 and up to uni age) healthier during the winter months? Also none of my children have had Chicken Pox and this is a big concern of mine are there any ways of avoiding this?

alibabbaskeggy Sat 26-Nov-16 10:17:03

My daughter is having tonsils and adenoids out and grommits put in on 29th december she is booked for flu nasal spray on 8th of december is this wise? it wont effect her operation will it? we have waited so long don't want her to have to cancel

frances93 Sat 26-Nov-16 10:21:20

In the colder months my lo gets little pimples on the back of his arms & legs? They aren't painful but they don't look very nice, how do I prevent this happening?

itsmeexxx Sat 26-Nov-16 10:42:01

What is the best cream to use on my son's dry skin?, if we use the same cream for too long it stops working so have to keep changing.

girls2go Sat 26-Nov-16 10:56:10

My son has hypgammgobulinia and when he gets a cold especially in winter it last around 4-5 wks and because he gets stressed by it it triggers his excema off is there anything we can try to help ward off the dreaded winter colds he is aged 7

strikingstarlet Sat 26-Nov-16 11:15:48


With winter bugs in children that involve breathing difficulties and coughs such as bronchitis and croup is it better to use steam and stay indoors warm or fresh air and outside?

I have had conflicting advice...


outgoing Sat 26-Nov-16 11:33:41

my son has sensory processing difficulties and hates wearing a coat so he comes down with a lot of coughs and colds.can you advise me how to keep him healthy during the colder months.

Babanew Sat 26-Nov-16 11:49:23

My baby really has trouble with congestion when she has a cold, and cant sleep very well. What is the best way to help clear a baby aged 14 months of congestion, particularly for when she goes to bed at night- it seems to affect er most at night time?

KittyKat88 Sat 26-Nov-16 11:51:06

My daughter, when she catches a cough/cold, often has painful ears. I usually just treat colds with Calpol for mild pain and/or fevers as necessary, but is there anything else I can do to protect the ear canal and make her feel more comfortable?

jazzitup Sat 26-Nov-16 12:02:36

How to stop the constant cough's and sniffles this time of year please.

jelleng Sat 26-Nov-16 12:18:28

My boy has what seems to be growing pains, are they real? and if so can we do anything about it?

iut044 Sat 26-Nov-16 12:25:12

Are vitamin supplements needed ?

waitingforgodot Sat 26-Nov-16 12:26:05

My 10 year old has red raised spots on front of his thighs and back of his arms. Looks like chicken skin but doesn't bother him in the slightest. Is there a treatment for this?

happysouls Sat 26-Nov-16 12:35:53

Constant colds seem unavoidable! Other than hand washing and anti bacterial gel, are there any things that can be taken to either avoid picking up all these things, or reduce the impact of them?

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