If your child is unwell, consult HANDi this winter

With childhood illnesses on the increase due to the cold weather, doctors in Devon are reminding parents to download and consult the HANDi paediatric app. The free app, available to download onto any Apple or Android device, was launched specifically with children in mind and is loaded with expert advice, support and guidance for common childhood illnesses.

HANDi was designed by Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust with paediatric consultants to provide clear, concise information for parents and carers.

It covers a range of common conditions such as high temperatures, abdominal pain, headaches and rashes, which can cause concern to a parent or carer if they are not sure what to do.

The app asks a series of questions about the symptoms the child has and then advises the best course of action to take, whether to treat the condition at home, consult a pharmacist or GP and if it is serious, head to A&E.

It has been specifically adapted to be suitable for people in Devon and it will direct you to your nearest Devon hospital.

HANDi is updated regularly by qualified clinicians to provide the best advice and will just ask you to identify your child’s condition and then advise you what course of action to take.

Dr Shelagh McCormick, Plymouth GP and spokesperson for the Devon A&E delivery board, said “We know how much parents worry about their children during the winter months and the run up to Christmas can be an especially busy time of year.”

“You generally don’t want to take your children to A&E, which can be a very scary experience for a young child and if that can be avoided then we hope that this easy to use app can help ease your concerns.”

It is also recommended that young children aged 2-3, who are especially susceptible to illnesses at this time of year get the flu vaccination, which is a simple nasal spray keeping them and others safe.

Dr McCormick added “Flu can be horrible for little children and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family. I would encourage parents to check with their local practice about this year’s arrangements for flu vaccinations.”

“We want to keep everyone well this winter so get the vaccination and remember, if you’re not sure what to do when your child is sick, the answer may just be on your phone.”