Bliss raises awareness of common illnesses in babies this winter and spring

Posted on March 06, 2023


With a rise in cases of common infectious illnesses including Strep A, flu and RSV this winter, it’s important that families know when and how to seek help for their child.

While most cases of these illnesses are mild, it can be a worrying time for parents and carers – particularly if your child spent time in neonatal care as a baby or you have a newborn currently on a neonatal unit.

With funding from NHS England, Bliss is running an awareness-raising campaign to help give parents more confidence to identify the symptoms and understand when to seek medical help.

The rise in the number of infections this winter and the media coverage of this has led to unexpected pressures on NHS emergency, 111 and primary care services. This additional pressure makes it more difficult to identify and treat children with serious infections quickly, and families who already face barriers to accessing the care they need – including those from minority ethnic backgrounds – are disproportionately affected.

Peter Bradley, Director of Services at Bliss said: “We often hear from families who have spent time on a neonatal unit that winter and early spring can be particularly worrying when there are lots of illnesses around.

It’s vital that their parents and carers feel confident in knowing what symptoms to look for and when to seek help. Through the development of expert translated information we’ll enable more families to access accurate and trustworthy information and support, helping them to be experts in their child’s care.”

The campaign is particularly focused on fixing the gap in provision where there is a lack of available information in different languages and on symptom-spotting signs for babies with Black, Brown and darker skin.

The project will consist of both online and printed information which will be sent to 162 neonatal units in England, alongside a social media campaign in partnership with community groups Black Mums Upfront and Raham Project and under consultation with Tendai Nzirawa, Regional Lead of the East of England Neonatal Nurses Association.

The information will be translated into Arabic, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Somali and Urdu, and highlights how symptoms can appear on Black, Brown and darker skin.

Natalie Duvall, Co-Founder of Black Mums Upfront, said: "We at Black Mums Upfront know first-hand how worrying it can be when your child is unwell. All too often, we can't find accurate descriptions or visual examples of ailments for Black and Brown skin.

This lack of representation can inevitably lead to missing the identification of vital symptoms of a child's illness. We're pleased to be working with Bliss to raise awareness of winter illnesses for all children."

Faiza Rehman, Managing Director at Raham Project, said: “Raham Project helps to support mothers and their partners from ethnic families who have recently used or are currently using maternity services in the UK. We recognise the importance of reducing health inequity by creating information that is easy to understand and visually represents the diverse communities we serve.

“We come with a unique insight into how the health sector works and the genuine experiences of families. This key quality allows us to recognise the importance of working with trusted organisations such as Bliss and supporting them to integrate into our communities in order to create the support networks diverse communities need.”

Bliss is here for you.

If you’re struggling and would like some support, please visit our support page – we’re here to help you every step of the way.

We offer information and guidance on common winter illnesses here