Illness, allergy, and keeping healthy

Health Visiting and School Nursing Illness, allergy, and health promotion

Information from common childhood illnesses, health promotion and family wellbeing, through to serious illnesses – what to look for and expect, how to manage, and when to seek help.

Acne is a common skin condition which affects many people and can vary in severity. It is usually most noticeable and problematic in puberty. For more information:

The sudden unexpected and unexplained death of a baby is often recorded as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). We do not know what causes SIDS but for many babies it is likely that a combination of factors affect them at a vulnerable stage of their development. SIDS is rare and you can significantly reduce the chance of SIDS occurring by following safer sleep advice. For example:

  • Sleep your baby on their back with their feet to the bottom of the cot for all sleeps.
  • Share a room with your baby for the first six months.
  • Keep your baby smoke-free during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Keep your baby’s cot clear of items such as bumpers, toys and loose bedding.
  • Don’t let your baby overheat, try to keep the room temperature between 16-20°C.
  • Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby.
  • Do not co-sleep with your baby if you or your partner has been drinking, is a smoker, has been taking drugs or is extremely tired.

The above is especially important for babies who were born premature or of low birth weight, as these babies are at a higher risk of SIDS.

Colic is the name for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. It’s a common problem that affects up to one in five babies.

Colic tends to begin when a baby is a few weeks old. It normally stops by four months of age, or by six months at the latest.

Looking after a colicky baby can be very frustrating and distressing, but the problem will eventually pass and for most babies is a temporary issue. If you have concerns, please see the links below then if required; contact your 0-19 team for advice.


The Spotty Book provides guidance for schools and others with children in their care about the prevention and control of common infectious diseases eg, chicken pox, influenza and parvovirus.

Useful information on common childhood illnesses, wellbeing, and further information.


Head lice are tiny insects that live in hair. They are a common especially among children. They are harmless but irritating but should not be left unmanaged or they will continue to thrive and spread. For further information:

A programme to help people struggling with long term health conditions – build confidence and learn how to manage their condition/s better. The new programme is called HOPE (Help Overcoming Problems Effectively).

These are serious life threatening illnesses with many different causes. Anyone of any age can get meningitis or septicaemia.

For more information see:

Cow’s Milk Allergy (also known as Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy or CMPA) is one of the most common food allergies to affect babies and young children in the United Kingdom. It is estimated to affect between 2 and 7.5% of babies under one.

Cow’s milk allergy is an abnormal response by the body’s immune (defence) system in which proteins in a food (in this case cow’s milk) are recognised as being harmful.

Whilst CMPA mostly affects formula fed babies, breast fed babies can also be affected too. Allergic symptoms to CMPA can happen immediately after feeding (IgE mediated) or they can be delayed (non IgE mediated).

Support videos

What is cows’ milk allergy?

Cows’ milk allery and breastfeeding

Cows’ milk allergy free weaning

Cows’ milk allergy and formula milk

Cow’s milk allergies – Guidance for health visitors and GPs

Stay Well Pharmacy is a new campaign from NHS England which encourages people, especially parents and carers of children under the age of 5, to visit their local pharmacy team first for minor health concerns such as sore throats, coughs, colds, tummy troubles, teething and aches and pains.

Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are qualified healthcare professionals, and are the right people to see if you need clinical advice, reassurance, over the counter medicines and even a private consultation room, should it be requested, to help safely manage a range of minor health concerns. Local pharmacy teams offer fast and convenient clinical support with no appointment needed.

Your 0-19 team is available for advice and support regarding sexual health, This can be in pre-arranged visits, over the phone, or you can contact your school nurse through the school.

The following websites contain lots of excellent information around sex and young people and are really good resources for both parents and teenagers to help inform and answer any questions:

The C-Card is a confidential service which runs throughout Torbay. It enables young people to get free condoms and sexual health information and advice. The service is available to anyone aged 13-24. Once registered to the scheme young people can pick up condoms from over 40 different locations throughout Torbay.

Sexual Medicine Services Appointments Line: 01803 656500. See Opening times and clinic details.

If you are concerned about an STI, including HIV, or think you are at risk of having one, you can get tested at a sexual health clinic or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. See Torbay Sexual medicines Service.

An illustration of sexual consent.

Sexually transmitted infection (also known as Sexually transmitted diseases) can affect anyone who is sexually active. Often there are no obvious symptoms. For further information:

Eczema clinics

Community eczema clinics are run by a Health Visitor with a special interest, knowledge, and learning in dermatology.

Referrals are accepted from all health professionals, including Health Visitors, practice nurses and GPs.

The clinics are available to all children aged 0 to 5 years and run in different locations across the Bay.

Children receive a full assessment of their eczema and a plan of care is provided with emollient or steroidal treatments as required. Follow up and support is available to parents as needed on an individual basis.

Looking after your child’s skin

At birth, the top layer of your baby’s skin is very thin and easy to damage. Over the first month (longer in premature babies) your baby’s skin matures and develops its own natural protective barrier.

Sometimes babies and children develop skin problems which may need treatment.

Help keep your child’s skin well moisturised using a product specifically for children, and limit exposure to household irritants such as soaps and chemicals.

It is important to protect your baby from direct sunlight until they are 6 months old and use factor 30 plus.

For more information about common skin problems, please see:

Stopping smoking completely is the single best thing you can do to improve your health and wealth and there is a lot of support to help you be successful.

Becoming smoke free will significantly reduce the risk of developing many long term conditions and greatly improve outcomes for people who have existing health problems. No matter how long you’ve smoked for, quitting helps improve your health straight away.

The local stop smoking service has a team of experienced specialist advisers who understand the challenges of quitting. They offer a range of highly successful treatment options as well as different levels of local tailored support aimed at giving smokers the best chance of quitting for good.

They are also an e-cigarette / vaping friendly service and can provide the latest advice and guidance about their use as an alternative to smoking tobacco or in supporting you to quit.

Secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke is dangerous. Children are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke, increasing the risk of cot death, glue ear, meningitis, asthma, and other respiratory disorders. The best way to protect loved ones is to quit smoking. At the very least, make sure you have a smokefree home and car. For further information;

Reduce chances of your child smoking

Children are more likely to take up smoking if they live with people who smoke. The best thing you can do to reduce the chances of your child smoking is to not smoke. If you would like to stop smoking there is support available to help you, you are 4x more likely to quit if you get support.

How to support your child to quit

If your child is smoking and you would like to help them to quit the best thing to do is to;

  • Quit smoking (if you smoke)
  • Help them to access stop smoking support from the specialist Stop Smoking service.
  • The Specialist Stop Smoking Service can offer tailored support to both you and your child, including family appointments if wanted.

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