Dr Mark Rosenthal

MD MB ChB FRCP FRCPCH BSc

Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8832

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

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Prevention is always better than cure, so it is important to try to stop the germs from spreading if your child has an infection. Chest infection treatment can help to eliminate the virus or bacteria that is responsible, but the only way to avoid anyone else in the family falling ill is to keep the germs away.

Preventing Chest Infections

Chest infections usually appear after a cold or the flu, so you should be particularly careful when your child is recovering from a minor illness. It is also important to practice basic hygiene, such as hand washing, to reduce the chances of catching any kind of infection.

Stopping the Spread

Chest infections spread in the same way as colds or flu, through the germs that are released when we cough or sneeze, so they can be stopped in the same way. The germs that cause chest infections are actually a little bit less infections than the flu, but you still need to be careful. It is best to keep your child at home until the chest infection treatment is complete, but you still need to protect the rest of the family. If your child is able to use a tissue or cover his or her mouth then this can stop the infection from spreading. You can help younger children by catching any snot or phlegm in a tissue. Viruses and bacteria can live for a while outside the body, so you should also make sure that toys and surfaces are kept clean and everyone in the house is washing their hands frequently.

Avoiding the Infection

Taking these measures to stop the infection from spreading is important, but you can also do something to avoid getting an infection in the first place. Children are eligible for the annual flu vaccination that could help them to avoid getting the illness that precedes many chest infections. Children can also be vaccinated against pneumococcal bacteria, which are a common cause of chest infections.

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