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Tags: nhs direct

Seeking Medical Advice

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Health, Family , Tags: health, helpline, medical advice, nhs direct, symptom checker

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If you live in England or Wales, you have access to fantastic medical resources in NHS Direct and NHS Direct Wales - particularly useful for families with new babies and are uncertain as to whether a cough, splutter or wheeze is normal or the sign of an important medical condition!

NHS Direct was announced in 1997, and rolled out between 1998 and 2000, giving faster access to direct medical advice.  Most enquiries are made by telephone (0845 4647), calls are switched to dedicatedcall centres staffed by trained medical staff.  They will ask questions relating to the symptoms, and then advise on what action you should take.  They will advise whether you should make an appointment with your doctor; if they perceive there to be a serious risk, they might advice you to seek urgent medical attention in a hospital or even to dial the emergency services.

The NHS Direct website contains a lot of valuable health advice and information, as well as a symptom checker to help you to diagnose your symptoms online.

Scotland is served by NHS 24 and Wales by NHS Direct Wales, Northern Ireland has its own NHS service but doesn't appear to offer a similar direct telephone service.

NHS Direct will give you immediate assistance and will funnel you to the correct service.  Given that most of us don't have medical training, it is reassuring to know that help in assessing any medical situation is just a phone call away.

When To Call The Doctor

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Health, Family , Tags: doctor, health, illness, nhs direct, symptoms

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It's always alarming when your baby is unwell, especially if they are really tiny, but what signs should you look out for to determine whether calling the doctor is the right course of action?

Every baby is different and responds differently. For brand new parents it hard to know what is normal and what is not... here are some signs to look out for which might indicate you baby needs medical help. But remember, a baby's state can deteriorate quickly, so if you are concerned in any way, don't hang around, call for medical advice immediately if your baby or child...

  • Is unresponsive: you know what they are normally like, so if they seem unresponsive to a favourite game or toy then they may be ill.
  • Has a persistent high temperature: if they seem warm and the temperature won't reduce despite cooling them.
  • Refuses feeds: if your baby is still feeding and refuses one feed and then refuses a second feed.
  • Vomits: if they vomit up their feed twice in a row or the vomit seems discoloured in any way (ie is greenish or has blood in it).
  • Has diarrhoea; if it is blood stained or persistent.
  • Shows signs of lethargy: very tired all the time and weary.
  • Has a rash: any kind of rash.
  • Is irritable or restless: if they won't settle or relax or sleep.
  • Has breathing difficulty: if they are struggling to breathe or are breathing in an unusual way.
  • Is coughing: unusual or painful coughing
  • Has a bulging fontanelle: if there is a bulge at the forehead.

You know your baby best.  If in doubt, call the doctor or NHS Direct!


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