Health | The latest blogs, articles & guides from our best storytellers

“It just feels like they’ve never been so sick” – the top health issue bugging Aussie parents

3 min read
14 Aug 2023
Doctor Ginni Mansberg

Dr Ginni Mansberg, general practitioner and health commentator, works closely with Compare the Market to shine a light on health issues and help patients make informed choices about their care.

Lingering lurgies have become the ultimate headache for Australians who just can’t seem to get a break from colds, flu and COVID-19 this year.

Making matters worse is a new policy enforced by some daycares forcing parents to apply for a fitness certificate before their child is allowed to return.

It’s really frustrating for parents who have to take additional time off work and now have to rush to make an extra GP appointment.

Anyone who’s tried booking a GP appointment recently knows that isn’t always easy.

It’s a bit of mayhem we don’t need. And the reality is, it is totally normal for children to get sick.

We expect children to have 12 separate viral illnesses every year. That number hasn’t changed since before the pandemic and it’s pretty much where we’re at now.

So what we’re experiencing isn’t necessarily a really nasty strain of viruses. We’ve all just forgotten what it’s like to have children in daycare, after years of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Is immunity the problem?

A lot of parents ask me what supplements their child could be taking to boost their immunity. The answer is (shock) none of them!

But there are ways you can boost your child’s resilience:

  1. Check and see what vaccinations are recommended for your children, based on their age group, and make sure you’re up to date.
  2. Promote a healthy lifestyle at home, with plenty of outdoor activity and nutritious food. As parents, we’re so busy with massive commutes to and from work that it’s very easy to lose carrots and cabbage and turn to chicken nuggets. But a healthy diet is really important.
  3. Send your kids to bed with plenty of time for quality sleep. Put a cap on screen time, and if that doesn’t work, take those devices away. Nothing beats a good night’s rest!

When is it best to stay home sick?

With so many mixed messages, it can be hard to decide when your child is ready to return to school or day-care.

Any child with a fever or with a rumbly tummy, diarrhoea and vomiting, can’t go to school.

Children with active chickenpox also aren’t fit for the classroom.

But if your child has some lingering symptoms like a snotty nose five days after their cold started, and they’re eating and drinking like normal and running ‘round happy as Larry, they’re probably ready to put on their uniform!

Your pharmacist will tell you that and write you a note – that you don’t have to pay for!

That takes pressure off our health system, and pressure off you as a parent.

If you’re considering private health cover for your family, you can compare a range of policies to suit your needs at Compare the Market.


Did you find this article interesting or helpful?
avatar of author: Dr. Ginni Mansberg

Written by Dr. Ginni Mansberg

As well as being a GP for almost 30 years, Dr. Ginni Mansberg is frequently called upon by media, including Sunrise, the Morning show and Embarrassing Bodies Down Under to give her expert opinion on health and well-being topics. When she's not helping her patients or appearing on the TV, Dr. Ginni is kept busy with her six children.

Read more from Dr. Ginni