Nanny Illness Handbook

There are many illnesses you may encounter during your nanny job. Make sure your employer informs you of all the injections your charges have had or are due to have. If a child suffers from eczema, diabetes, epilepsy or asthma find out exactly what provokes the condition, what medicine is required and how you can ease their suffering.

The following are the most common childhood ailments.

  • Colds: During the winter months most children will be affected by a runny nose at some time or another. A cold is a virus and normally takes about ten days to get better. Keep the child warm inside and give them plenty of fluids. Try and reduce dairy products which increase mucus production.
  • Cough: Again coughs come and go and there is little you can do to get rid of them. If a child has a dry cough and sore throat a cup of warm water with lemon and honey is soothing.
  • Teething: Frozen teething rings, carrot and apple sticks are all good for easing teething pains. Be aware that teething doesn’t have secondary effects apart from the occasional temperature, so don’t blame it for other ailments – these should be treated separately.
  • Tummy ache: Normally caused by a mild problem in the digestive tract, encourage the child to lie down with a hot water bottle held against the discomfort. If the pain continues for more than two hours, seek medical advice.
  • Diarrhoea: Bananas and plain white rice are the best way to calm diarrhoea in older children, with plenty of non-dairy or fruit juice-based liquids, i.e. plain water. If a small baby has diarrhoea there is a risk of dehydration, so it’s best to call a doctor.
  • Constipation: If your charge appears to be constipated (it is sometimes accompanied by head and stomach aches) increase the fibre content of their diet with whole-wheat foods and fresh fruit and vegetables. Drinking plenty of liquids and exercise also help. Don’t give laxatives unless you have been advised by a doctor.
  • Vomiting: If the child is sick just once, stop solid foods and concentrate on liquids for 24 hours. Then avoid fatty foods for the following 48 hours. If the vomiting is accompanied by diarrhoea, tummy ache and fever seek urgent medical advice.
  • Earache: Ear infections are another winter time regular and will normally need doctor-administered antibiotics.
  • Chicken pox: With no vaccination available, almost every child will get chicken pox. The small red spots that blister over last for two weeks and are highly infectious, so don’t hesitate to warn other mums/nannies in parks. Children on the whole aren’t too bothered by the illness, just keep their finger nails short and apply calamine lotion to the affected areas.