I AM grateful to two parents who wrote in with questions regarding their children. My advice is given in good faith and reflects current guidelines. However, it cannot be a substitute for consulting your own GP.

Question – Do I need to have my baby daughter immunised? This is our second child. With our first I was a new mum and a bit overwhelmed. I don’t think I gave it a thought, and just went along with what I was told. - Noreen

Answer – It is entirely normal to question any treatment for ourselves and our children when they are not old enough to advocate for themselves. Even before the pandemic and the role out of the COVID vaccinations, there were an increasing number of parents asking questions about the routine childhood vaccination programme.

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While this is a contentious issue, the childhood vaccination programme has been around for many years, and safety of vaccinations is well established. It has been observed that when the uptake of childhood vaccinations is low, there is an increase of childhood diseases which vaccinations prevent, notably measles. And while for many it may be a mild viral illness, some children with measles will suffer long lasting repercussions including permanent damage to hearing or the nervous system. Arguably because of the success of the vaccination programme, these diseases are not seen as often, so there is less awareness of their potentially devastating effects. I would always advise any parent to have their child immunised, unless they have been specifically advised not to by a senior healthcare professional.

Question – my two-year-old has just started nursery and seems to have a cough and cold all the time. He’s got a permanent runny nose. I’ve had him back to the GP more times than I care to remember. I’m worried there is something going on. – Jacci.

Answer – It is normal for young children to pick up viral infections from close contact with other children and is part of the development of their immune system.

Daily Echo:

If it feels like you are always at your GP it may be worth keeping a record of exactly how many times you have been and how many times your child has required antibiotics. If the episodes have been simple viral infections that resolve on their own, then I would be less worried.

Equally important is whether your child is well between episodes. If they return to full health, are growing normally and have achieved developmental milestones, this is a reassuring sign.

A child who goes from one infection to another, without getting better in between, is a cause for concern. These children are usually easy to identify.

If you have any concerns, please do not feel afraid to voice these with your GP.

Daily Echo: