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Child health

Melatonin: is it worthwhile for sleep?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates circadian rhythm and sleep. Given its important biological functions,... View Article

January 2024

Childhood poisonings: hazardous substances around the home

The natural curiosity of young children about their surroundings can sometimes lead to unintentional exposures to hazardous substances... View Article

November 2022

Coeliac disease: investigation and management

Coeliac disease affects approximately 1 in 100 adults. However, it is often unrecognised as symptoms can be vague and non-specific... View Article

August 2022

Otitis media: a common childhood illness

Acute otitis media is the most common reason why children in primary care are prescribed antibiotics, despite guidance recommending... View Article

April 2022

Plant-based diets: are they healthy for a child?

With the increasing popularity of plant-based diets, there is much discussion about whether these are healthy and nutritious for... View Article

December 2021

Diagnosing and managing lactose intolerance

Primary lactase deficiency, the main cause of lactose intolerance, is estimated to affect 8% of people in New Zealand, with substantially... View Article

December 2021

Childhood eczema: improving adherence to treatment basics

Emollients form the basis of treatment for all patients with eczema. Emollients and topical corticosteroids are effective at preventing... View Article

August 2021

Topical corticosteroids for childhood eczema: clearing up the confusion

Topical corticosteroids are one of the key medicines used in the management of childhood eczema. However, adherence is typically... View Article

August 2021

Management of impetigo

Impetigo is a highly contagious, bacterial infection of the skin, most commonly seen in children. It is typically diagnosed clinically,... View Article

May 2021

Is it asthma? Assessing and managing wheeze in pre-school children

Wheeze in children aged under five years is common and often triggered by viral illness, even in children who do not go on to... View Article

July 2020

Preventing and managing bronchiectasis in high-risk paediatric populations

Bronchiectasis is a lung disease characterised by bronchial dilation, chronic inflammation and infection, which can lead to permanent... View Article

May 2020

Managing cows' milk protein allergy in infants

Dietary avoidance of cows’ milk is the only management strategy for infants with cows’ milk protein allergy (CMPA). If continued... View Article

November 2019

Paracetamol dosing for children in primary care

Paracetamol dosing errors can lead to acute liver failure in children. Calculation of a paracetamol dose in children should be... View Article

February 2018

Selected topics in acute pain management for primary care

There are a multitude of causes of acute pain, however, the approach to management will often be similar; assessment guides prescribing... View Article

February 2018

4% dimethicone lotion: a subsidised treatment for head lice

From 1 May, 2017, 4% dimethicone lotion can be prescribed fully subsidised for the treatment of head lice, which adds another... View Article

May 2017

Bronchiolitis: when to reassure and monitor, and when to refer

Bronchiolitis is a lower respiratory tract infection, most often caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). In severe illness... View Article

April 2017

Childhood eczema: improving adherence to treatment basics

Emollients form the basis of treatment for all patients with eczema. Emollients and topical corticosteroids are effective at preventing... View Article

December 2016

Topical corticosteroids for childhood eczema: clearing up the confusion

Topical corticosteroids are one of the key medicines used in the management of childhood eczema. However, adherence is typically... View Article

December 2016

Medicine use in youth mental health

This report provides an overview of dispensings of medicines indicated for the treatment of depression and anxiety in patients... View Article

April 2016

The role of medicines for the treatment of depression and anxiety in patients aged under 18 years

Psychological and behavioural approaches are the cornerstone of treatment for young people with depression or anxiety. When pharmacological... View Article

March 2016

Managing frequently encountered mental health problems in young people: non-pharmacological strategies

Young people experience a variety of mental health conditions. For patients with mild to moderate depression and anxiety, a stepped... View Article

December 2015

Addressing mental health and wellbeing in young people

This is the first of a series of articles which will examine the diverse theme of mental health in young people. Adolescence is... View Article

October 2015

Asthma education in primary care

Māori and Pacific peoples in New Zealand are disproportionately affected by asthma, but the level of care they receive does not... View Article

September 2015

Melatonin: is it worth losing any sleep over?

Modified-release melatonin is an unsubsidised medicine that is approved for, and moderately effective at, improving sleep quality... View Article

August 2015

The Integrated Performance and Incentive Framework (IPIF): A Healthy Start

IPIF is a quality improvement programme designed to enhance the quality, accessibility, and integration of the New Zealand healthcare... View Article

April 2015

Treating childhood eczema - a topical solution for a topical problem

Emollients, topical corticosteroids and avoidance of triggers remain the mainstays of treatment in children with eczema. Under-use... View Article

April 2015

News Updates

This article has been archived. If you would like access to the original article please contact: editor@bpac.org.nz View Article

October 2014

Measles: what to be aware of during an outbreak

The current measles outbreak in New Zealand highlights the importance of maintaining high measles mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation... View Article

September 2014

Encouraging children to swallow tablets or capsules

Many health professionals will encounter children who are reluctant or unable to swallow tablets and capsules. This can present... View Article

September 2014

News Updates

Evidence that alternate dosing of paracetamol and ibuprofen in children with fever may reduce temperature: other benefits un... View Article

July 2014

Changes to the National Immunisation Schedule: rotavirus vaccine now added

This article has been archived. If you would like access to the original article please contact: editor@bpac.org.nz View Article

June 2014

The use of analgesics in children

This report discusses the use of analgesics for the treatment of pain in children between January – December 2013. View Article

May 2014

Hazardous substance poisoning in children: poisons in and around the house

Children are great explorers, and preschool children spend much of their time exploring at home. This can lead to children unintentionally... View Article

March 2014

Managing pain in children aged under 12 years

“Pain is what the patient says it is”. This definition of pain can be applied to any patient, regardless of their age. Good pain... View Article

March 2014

The use of omeprazole in infants is still high

Omeprazole is not approved for use in infants (children aged under one year). Although omeprazole is effective at reducing gastric... View Article

December 2013

Assessing wheeze in pre-school children

Wheeze in children aged less than five years has many potential causes. Often it is regarded as the first sign of asthma, however,... View Article

November 2013

Upfront - Sudden unexpected death in infancy: Where are we now?

The incidence of SUDI has declined significantly since public prevention campaigns began in New Zealand in the early 1990s. This... View Article

November 2013

Smoking prevention and cessation in adolescents: Changing futures, saving lives

On average, New Zealanders who smoke try their first cigarette between the ages of 11 and 12 years. There are large ethnic disparities... View Article

June 2013

Pertussis: halting the epidemic by protecting infants

Infants who have not yet completed the National Immunisation Schedule and children who are not immunised, or only partially immunised,... View Article

March 2013

Otitis media: a common childhood illness

This article has been replaced with an updated version. View new article View Article

September 2012

Bronchiolitis in infants

Bronchiolitis is the most common lower respiratory tract infection in infants, and between 2006 and 2010 accounted for almost... View Article

September 2012

Pertussis: an avoidable epidemic

This article is out of date. Please see: Pertussis: halting the epidemic by protecting infants for updated information New... View Article

August 2012

The management of community acquired pneumonia

Pneumonia is a significant cause of hospitalisation and mortality among both children and adults in New Zealand. Māori and... View Article

August 2012

Managing urinary tract infections in children

Although relatively uncommon in children, urinary tract infection (UTI) should be considered when assessing a young child with... View Article

May 2012

Prescribing for children with asthma

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world. It is the leading cause of sleep disturbance, missed... View Article

April 2012

Diagnosing and managing asthma in children

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the developed world. It is the leading cause of sleep disturbance,... View Article

February 2012

Upfront: Vulnerable children and young people in New Zealand

In this conclusion to the series on abused and neglected children we revisit key messages and highlight actions that can be taken... View Article

December 2011

Upfront: Mental health issues in adolescents who have experienced abuse and neglect

In the fourth article in our series on vulnerable children and young people in New Zealand, we discuss the complex mental health... View Article

November 2011

Irritable infants reflux and GORD

In New Zealand, empiric treatment with omeprazole for infant irritability and reflux is increasing, despite the fact that it is... View Article

November 2011

Upfront: Infant mental health and child protection

The third article in our series on vulnerable children and young people in New Zealand. This article aims to provide primary care... View Article

October 2011

Upfront: Detecting child abuse in general practice

This second article in our series on children and young people in New Zealand who have been abused or neglected, aims to provide... View Article

September 2011

Upfront: Meeting the needs of children and young people in New Zealand who have been abused and neglected

Nearly one quarter of New Zealand children and young people come to the attention of Child, Youth and Family before they reach... View Article

August 2011

Prescription Kitchen videos

Links to video files of the TV show broadcast on Sky channel 950, Thursday May 5th View Article

May 2011

Allergy to cows' milk protein and the appropriate use of infant formula

Extensively hydrolysed formula for infants aged under six months and soy formula for infants aged over six months are the first-line... View Article

May 2011

Contraception in early adolescence

Young people are having sex. Advice about sexual health and contraception should be considered for all adolescents, including... View Article

April 2011

Close contact infectious diseases: an increasing concern for Pacific peoples

Pacific peoples have poorer health status than other New Zealanders, including higher rates of infectious diseases. View Article

November 2010

Immunisation in Pacific children: a success story

Childhood immunisation plays an important role in the health of children, their families and the wider population. View Article

November 2010

Rheumatic fever - the neglected disease

New Zealand continues to have high rates of rheumatic fever, particularly among Pacific peoples. View Article

November 2010

The burden of bronchiectasis in Pacific peoples

In most developed countries the incidence of bronchiectasis has declined over the years. View Article

November 2010

Identifying the risk of serious illness in children with fever

A “traffic light” approach to assessing the risk of a serious illness in a child with fever. View Article

July 2010

Immunisation in children by age two years

An important focus of the PHO Performance Programme is to ensure that all children in New Zealand are receiving their necessary... View Article

July 2010

Cough in children

Children who cough are frequently seen in general practice. The challenge is to determine what is “normal” cough from... View Article

July 2010

Do cough and cold medicines work in children?

The short answer is no. There is little evidence that cough and cold preparations have any clinically significant effect on reducing... View Article

July 2010

Avoiding medication errors in children

Medication errors may never be completely eliminated, but strategies can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of error occurring.... View Article

July 2010

Common issues in paediatric oral health

How to recognise and manage common oral health issues in younger children including: what to expect inside the mouth, teething... View Article

April 2010


Appendices for Depression in Young People View Article

January 2010

Key Messages & Introduction

Evidence indicates that early interventions in a number of mental health conditions for children and young people can result in... View Article

January 2010

Management of depression in young people in primary care

A stepped care approach is used with the intensity of treatment adjusted according to the response to treatment. A combination... View Article

January 2010

Recognition and Assessment of Common Mental Disorders in Young People

In this section the clinical features of the common mental disorders are outlined along with a discussion of suicidal behaviours.... View Article

January 2010


References for Depression in Young People BPJ special edition View Article

January 2010

Childhood asthma programme summary

Te huango o te tamaitiA short overview of childhood asthma, best practice special edition and decision support module. View Article

July 2009

Childhood Asthma: References

References and bibliography View Article

May 2009

Asthma Education Desktop Prompt

This desktop prompt has been used extensively by GPs, practice nurses and asthma educators in Wellington and surrounding areas.... View Article

May 2009

Asthma education for children and their families

Asthma education of the child and the family should lead to an understanding of good control of asthma and the role of medications... View Article

May 2009

Guide to asthma management in children

To compliment the childhood asthma decision support tool. This guide is based on the New Zealand childhood asthma guidelines and... View Article

May 2009

Inequalities in asthma prevalence morbidity and mortality

Māori and Pacific children with asthma suffer more severe symptoms than other children, are hospitalised more frequently... View Article

May 2009

Selected topics in asthma

Intermittent or persistent asthma? Which inhaled corticosteroid? The role of long acting beta-2 agonists (LABA). Role of nebulisers... View Article

May 2009

Bronchiolitis update

Bronchiolitis is the most common lower respiratory tract infection seen in infants aged less than one year. The bronchiolitis... View Article

April 2009

Management of impetigo

Impetigo is a highly contagious, bacterial infection of the skin, most commonly seen in children. It is typically diagnosed clinically... View Article

February 2009

Is a vegetarian diet healthy for a child?

Vegetarian diets are becoming increasingly popular, but is this type of diet healthy for a child? The answer is that a well-planned... View Article

December 2008

Infant formula

Although breastfeeding is the best option for an infant, cows’ milk based formula is recommended if breast feeding does... View Article

August 2008

The investigation and management of nocturnal enuresis

Nocturnal enuresis, or bedwetting, is a common condition which children usually grow out of. Advice to parents on simple behavioural... View Article

June 2008

Upfront: Reducing inequalities in asthma care for children

Reducing inequalities in asthma care for children. View Article

June 2008

Treating head lice

Head lice are non-discriminatory in who they affect, however outbreaks among school children are most common. We discuss treatments... View Article

June 2008

Asthma and chronic cough in Māori children

Māori children with asthma have greater hospital admission rates, present with more severe symptoms and require more days... View Article

May 2008

Should antidepressants be used to treat depression in children and adolescents?

Depressive disorder is a major health issue for young people, affecting not only function but overall development. Recent debate... View Article

April 2008


Most cases of constipation in adults are mild and intermittent and respond to lifestyle changes such as increasing fibre in the... View Article

October 2007

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is a common but often unrecognised disorder, affecting about 1 in 100 people. Symptoms of coeliac disease are... View Article

October 2007

Acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis

In her UPFRONT article on infectious disease patterns (BPJ Issue 5 p4), Professor Diana Lennon noted the fact that Post-streptococcal... View Article

August 2007

Over-the-counter medication in children: friend or foe?

The information in this article is now out of date. An updated article can be found here: http://www.bpac.org.nz/BPJ/2010/July/coldmeds.aspx A... View Article

May 2007

Safe use of paracetamol in children

The evidence-base for the information contained in this article is no longer current: please refer to the New Zealand Formulary... View Article

May 2007

Upfront: Infectious disease patterns a major concern

An Interview with Professor Diana Lennon on infectious disease patterns. View Article

May 2007

Winter Ills

Bronchiolitis | Cough in children | Fever in children | Acute gastroenteritis in children | Acute asthma in children aged 1-15... View Article

May 2007

ADHD: The Primary Care role

The role of primary care clinicians in improving outcomes for people with ADHD. View Article

February 2007

Improving the care of children with asthma

Studies suggest that the majority of children with asthma do not have good control. This appears to be associated with low asthma... View Article

December 2006

Ten minute audit

Identifies people under the age of 18 years on paroxetine to enable checks for suicidal and aggressive behaviour View Article

October 2006

Pharmacological management of asthma in children aged 5–11 years

A brief overview of the recently released Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ guidelines on the management of asthma in children;... View Article

July 2020

Non-evidential laboratory testing for drug use in adolescents

On occasion, an adolescent may present at their general practice with instructions to undergo a drug test – usually due to concerns... View Article

March 2012

Substance misuse in adolescents: alcohol, cannabis & other drugs

The risk of injury or death during adolescence is two to three times higher than it is during childhood. The main reason for this... View Article

February 2012