Medical symptoms in children that you should never ignore

22 Nov 2018 @ 10.06 am
| Family, Health

Increasing pressures on the NHS, including staff shortages, lack of resources, reduced budgets and hard to reach targets have taken their toll on the quality of care you should be receiving from your local doctors and hospitals.  The most common way we can see the impact of these cuts are when you are trying to book an appointment to see your doctor.  A recent study discovered that waiting times in 2017 were ten day longer than in 2015 – with 40% of patients needing to wait more than two weeks to secure an appointment.  And with GPs appointments so difficult to book many patients are taking a “wait and see” approach, hoping that they can cure their own ailments so do not make an appointment.  Currently over one million patients are unable to book the appointments they are seeking.

But as a parent you have a determination to ensure your child receives the best care possible, so while you may feel you can put off that doctor’s appointment for yourself, you may feel a sense of urgency for your child.  The majority of the time a child’s ailments will be mild, but occasionally there may a more serious condition, which could be overlooked if you have not sought medical care, or if their symptoms have been misdiagnosed.  When booking a doctor’s appointment for your child parents should be more forceful and insist on an appointment as any symptom should be seen.  Below is a list of some of the more serious ailments that should be seen by a medical professional as well as what you should do if you believe your child has been misdiagnosed.

Head Injuries

Every child will have had a bump to the head at some time or another with toddlers toppling over regularly while they try and find their balance.  Yet a harmless bump to the head could have caused more damage than initially thought, with delayed symptoms leading parents to think their child is perfectly fine while unseen damage may have occurred under the surface.  If your child has had a head injury you need to seek medical help as soon as you can if they seem dizzy, sleepy or unresponsive, if there is any swelling or if there are an lacerations.

Lack of Response

If your child is having trouble staying awake, or you are having trouble trying to wake your child up, there could be a deeper, underlying issue.  See if they will respond to lights or sounds and try to get them to focus their attention on you.  If they are still unresponsive they must receive immediate medical attention.  Ensure their airways are open and try to discover what has caused their condition – have they had an accident? – and call an ambulance.


All children get tired and a good night’s sleep will usually refresh them after a particularly busy day.  However if your child appears fatigued often, or always seem to tired to take part in everyday activities and their symptoms do not appear to be cured by a good diet and more sleep you should book an appointment with your doctor.  There could be several reasons your child is suffering from fatigue – such as anaemia – that can be easily managed.  If there is something more serious your doctor can prescribe the correct management of the ailment.

Vomiting and Diarrhoea

A rather unpleasant ailment for children and adults, sickness bugs that cause vomiting and diarrhoea is a fairly normal occurrence, especially with school age children.  These viruses will usually be out of your system within a couple of days but if your child continues to have vomiting and/or diarrhoea for more than one or two days, or if it is hard for your child to keep liquids down, you must get them to a doctor or nurse as they could become severely dehydrated.  These symptoms may also be a sign that there is a more serious or long-term illness so monitor your child carefully and seek medical attention if they continue to experience sickness.


Another mild ailment that everyone will have experienced at some point in his or her life, headaches can be triggered by several different factors such as poor sight, diet, dehydration or stress.  Screen time for children has increased over recent years thanks to the many different devices available and tired eyes can also cause headaches.  If your child experiences infrequent headaches there is probably nothing to be concerned about, especially if you notice they are bringing brought on by one of the common triggers.  However frequent headaches should be monitored and if your child is also experiencing a stiff neck, sensitivity to light or if their headaches are particularly painful you should have them checked out.  It may be that your child is experiencing migraines, which, once diagnosed, can be handled with specific techniques which will relieve some of the pain.


Every parent knows about the glass test when it comes to rashes but many rashes are completely harmless and will disappear within a few days.  As one of the most common ailments for both children and adults it is important to find out what the cause of the rash is.  They could be caused by a nettle sting, an allergic reaction or even itchy clothing, however if they are purple, pinprick like in appearance, painful or your child also has sickness or a fever you should seek immediate medical attention.  Many rashes can be dealt with at a walk-in centre, which will mean you do not have to wait for a doctor’s appointment.  The staff will be able to prescribe medication for your child or refer them to an alternative service if they feel the symptoms need further attention.

Medical Misdiagnosis

People living in the UK are fortunate enough to have access to some of the world’s best care with our NHS being envied the world over, yet medical misdiagnosis does still occur.  With an estimated 24,500 misdiagnosed patients in the UK each year there can be occasions where a serious condition is missed and allowed to worsen.  If you feel the treatment or diagnosis your child has received is inadequate you need to ask for a second opinion, however if your child’s symptoms or illness has significantly worsened you may need to seek advice from a legal professional.  A legal professional, such as will look at the circumstances, diagnosis and treatment received and determine if there has been a fault and if so, where that fault lies.  They will also be able to advise you about claiming compensation for medical misdiagnosis, if they feel your case is eligible.