Dr Rini Saha from King George Surgery in Stevenage talks about looking after your family in our latest Hertfordshire health column.

By the time you read this, the new school term will be underway. If you’re a parent or carer, you’ve probably been buying and labelling uniform, or filling up a pencil case.

While you’re feeling organised, I’d like to help you to plan ahead for your family’s health this autumn too.

With children back in classrooms or settling into a new school, it’s important to keep an eye on their emotional health and how they’re coping, as well as their school work.

Take some time to listen to your child and discuss their feelings. There are lots of resources online if your child is finding things tough. If you’re really concerned, contact your GP practice so that they can support you.

In my surgery, September is a busy month. We’ll be vaccinating more people than ever this year against flu – please do have your jab or bring your child for their flu nasal spray if you are invited in. Seasonal bugs are circulating and of course COVID-19 is still with us.

If anyone in your family has a coronavirus symptom, it’s important to go online or call 119 to arrange a free test. Keep children off school until results come back. If we all play our part, we can stop COVID taking hold again.

Although some of us are delighted that our children are back at school, I know that many parents dread the start of term – with sneezes, rashes and unwelcome creepy crawlies making a comeback.

You can tackle many minor conditions at home by having the right things in your medicine cabinet. I would recommend keeping:

• Liquid paracetamol/ibuprofen suitable for your child’s age

• Rehydration sachets for after diarrhoea/sickness

• A thermometer

• Antihistamines

• Antiseptic cream

• Nit comb and hair conditioner

• Freezable gel packs to help with fever/bruises

• Plasters

Make sure you always read the instructions before you give a child any medicine, and if you’re not sure, get advice from a pharmacy, which are great sources of support. Pharmacists are highly trained and can advise you on effective and affordable medicines that are much cheaper than their big-brand equivalents.

Remember, if you need to speak to a GP, we are here for you. Call us for a consultation over the phone, by video, or if necessary, in person. NHS 111 is also available 24/7.