Common childhood illnesses and wellbeing

A guide to services

The NHS has a wide range of healthcare services. See which service or professional is best to help you.

Self care

Many illnesses can be treated in your home by using over the counter medicine from your pharmacist and getting plenty of rest. Self care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. If you are still worried contact NHS 111 or your GP.



If you think you need help urgently during the day or night you should call NHS 111 before you go to any other health service.

By calling 111 you will be directed straight to the local service that can help you best. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is free to call, including from a mobile.

You should call NHS 111:

  • when you need help fast but it’s not life threatening

  • when you think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service

  • when it’s outside of your GP’s surgery hours

  • when you do not know who to call for medical help

  • if you do not have a local GP to call.

Health Visitor

Health visitors are specialist nurses who can support you and your family during your child’s early years. They will visit you at home or see you in local clinics and children’s centres to routinely assess your child and family’s health and development needs. They can help you get extra support if you need it and can refer you to other services when it is required. They are there for you until your child is almost five when care is handed to the school nurse.


Your local pharmacists can provide advice on most common health issues. They can suggest and dispense medicine and other health products. There are often pharmacists in supermarkets and many are open late. Visit where you can find the service locator that will help you find the pharmacist nearest to you.


You will need to register with a GP - to find a GP in your area, use NHS Choices at: Your GP can offer advice, give medicines and provide information on other services. You will need to make an appointment but most GPs will see a baby quite quickly if you are worried. After 6.30pm weekdays, at weekends and public holidays you can contact NHS 111.


Your midwife can support you during pregnancy and up to 28 days after the birth. Your midwife will then hand over your care to the health visitor.

Children's centres

Families can access a wide range of information in a friendly environment. Children’s centres provide a range of advice including health promotion, advice on safety and promote all aspects of child health and wellbeing. Contact Kent Children and Families Information Service.


Make sure you see a dentist on a regular basis. Discuss registering your child early on with your dentist and take them with you to appointments. To find your nearest dentist visit For out-of-hours dentist information call NHS 111.


For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, please call 999.

A&E and 999 are emergency services that should only be used when babies and children are badly injured or show symptoms of critical illness such as choking or breathing difficulties, when they are unconscious or unaware of surroundings, have taken poison or tablets, or have severe abdominal pain.