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Parents and carers advised to be aware of the signs of respiratory illnesses and when to get help

HEALTH experts locally are urging parents and carers to be aware of the signs of respiratory illnesses in children with cases higher than usual for this time of year and further increases expected over the winter months.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common virus that causes coughs and colds in winter and is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in children under 2. In the UK, the RSV season typically begins in the autumn; earlier than the adult flu season; and runs throughout the winter. However, this year we are now seeing this presenting in children much sooner.

Dr Shyam Mariguddi, Clinical Director for Children's Medicine, at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said that:- "while respiratory infections are common in children, last winter saw fewer of them because of the Covid19 restrictions. We're now seeing more new cases as restrictions have lifted and many new parents may not have experienced respiratory illness in their child until now. Understandably, this may be very concerning for them. For the majority of children, however, these illnesses will not be serious and the child can be cared for at home with simple measures such as paracetamol, rest and plenty of fluids."

Common symptoms of bronchiolitis are runny nose, a rasping, dry cough, mild increase in temperature. It may cause reduction in feed and more noticeable effort in breathing.

Dr Mariguddi said most cases of bronchiolitis resolve within 2 to 3 weeks, but parents should contact their GP or call NHS:- 111, if:-

Their child struggles to breathe.

Their child has taken less than ˝ their usual amount during the last 2 or 3 feeds, or they have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more.

The child has a persistent high temperature of 37.8C or above.

Children under 2 months of age, those born prematurely and those with underlying health conditions, such as a heart condition, are a higher risk of severe bronchiolitis and parents should consider accessing health advice earlier.

Parents and carers are also advised to dial:- 999, and ask for an Ambulance, if:-

Your baby is having difficulty breathing.

Your baby's tongue or lips are blue.

There are long pauses in your baby's breathing.

Dr Kati Scholtz, Clinical Lead for Respiratory Conditions, at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:- "If your child has a sore throat, cough or cold and you are concerned about them, contact NHS 111 by phone or online in the 1st instance or your GP can advise if needed. Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious, but you should contact your GP or call the NHS helpline on:- 111 if you're worried about your child, they're not feeding properly, they have a persistent high temperature of 37.8C or above, or they seem very tired or irritable."

There are simple steps you can take to reduce the spread of all viruses:-

Use tissues to catch coughs or sneezes, bin the used tissues as soon as possible and wash your hands with soap and warm water to kill the germs.

Children with flu or bronchiolitis symptoms should stay home and reduce contacts where possible.

Particularly avoid close contact with newborn babies, infants born prematurely (before 37 weeks), children under 2 born with heart or lung conditions, and those with weakened immune systems.

Find out more about the symptoms of bronchiolitis and what to do on the NHS website and children's health in general can be found on:- What0-18.NHS.UK. View a video of Dr Shyam Mariguddi talking about bronchiolitis in children can be watched on:- YouTube.

Record 20 places bud for the UK City of Culture 2025 Title

A record 20 places from across the UK have submitted an expression of interest to become the UK City of Culture 2025; an all time high of entries for this prestigious competition. The competition, delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in collaboration with the devolved administrations, uses culture as a catalyst for levelling up areas outside London and putting new parts of the UK on the cultural map internationally.

Entrants have been tasked with proving that they can put culture at the heart of their plans to recover from the impact of the Pandemic. Regions and groups of Towns have been encouraged to apply in this competition, with a number stepping forward from across the UK. Bidding for the title in its own right has been shown to have a hugely positive impact on a place, for example previous long listed bids have used the bidding process to bring together lasting local, national and international partners, share a vision for their area and attract investment. To ensure as many places as possible across the country can take up this opportunity, DCMS are awarding grants of ₤40,000 to successful long listed places for the 1st time to support their long applications.

The winner, which will be announced next year, will take on the baton from Coventry as the 2021 UK City of Culture and be at the centre of the UK's cultural spotlight, in 2025. The benefits to the winner of the title are huge, attracting millions of visitors and investment and bringing communities together to showcase the place where they live to the country and the world.

Throughout the history of this competition the winning Cities have always benefited from financial support to ensure the programme's success and lasting legacy. Coventry has received over ₤15.5 million from the Government to directly support its year as UK City of Culture.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:- "This record number of applications from all four corners of the country is testament to the huge success of City of Culture in generating investment, creating jobs and boosting local pride. This prestigious prize creates a fantastic opportunity for Towns and Cities to build back better from the Pandemic and I wish all bidders the very best of luck."

Sir Phil Redmond, Chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said:- "From Derry Londonderry to Hull and Coventry, it has been a difficult and rewarding challenge to select the next UK City of Culture, and the list of potential candidates for 2025 indicates that life in the immediate future is going to be even more challenging! The 3 previous title holders have demonstrated the transformative and catalytic effect culture can bring about, even within places that have been ultimately unsuccessful, but have gone on to develop collaborative and sustainable partnerships. The list for 2025 also demonstrates the breadth of ambition, aspiration and innovation that exists from coast to coast and nation to nation across the UK and I am looking forward to that challenge of immersing myself once again in the UK's rich seam of creativity."

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 is providing a blueprint for how culture can be at the heart of social and economic recovery. The City has already attracted over ₤100 million so far in capital investment to support cultural projects, such as Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry Cathedral and Belgrade Theatre, among many others.

City of Culture status also had a huge impact on Hull and Derry Londonderry. Hull saw more than 5.3 million visits to over 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions. 75% of those who visited Hull in 2017 stated that it changed their perception of the City for the better and 9 out of 10 people in Hull thought that UK City of Culture had a positive impact on the City and more than 9 in 10 residents took part in at least 1 cultural activity.

The 20 bidders will be reduced to an initial long list of bidders in the coming weeks and then cut down further to a final shortlist in early 2022. The winner will be announced in May 2022.

For information on Coventry City of Culture 2021 please see:- Coventry2021.Co.UK.

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