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How to Battle Common School Illnesses

Sending your child to school can at times feel like sending them into a petri dish teeming with germs, bacteria, parasites and illnesses. After all, large groups of children are notorious for their dripping noses, chesty coughs, head lice infestations, ringworm rashes and weepy conjunctivitis – sometimes all at the same time!

As the parent of a school aged child, you are likely to find yourself getting sick more often than ever before, catching these same nasties from your little one. This can feel like a never-ending loop of frustrating illness – so what can you do to prevent this cycle of common school maladies?

Read ahead to learn more about how you can keep your family in good health, even when contagions are running rampant at school.

Common School Illnesses – and what you can do about them

Verrucas – If your child comes home with warts and/or a verruca, don’t stress. This childhood malady is relatively simple to treat; try EndWarts for no mess and no fuss treatment. If your child is planning to swim in a public pool, cover their verrucae with waterproof plasters to prevent the spread of infection to other children.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – This highly contagious eye infection can easily be spread from child to child as they rub their eyes and neglect to wash their hands (see hand washing advice below). If this painful and itchy infection occurs, don’t delay treatment; book an appointment with your GP.

Diarrhoea and Flu – Diarrhoea can have many diverse causes, from allergies to food poisoning to truly contagious diseases (such as cholera). If your child comes home with a flu or diarrhoea, ensure that they are kept home from school and given plenty of fluids and bed rest. If this persists (or if a fever spikes) you should seek emergency medical care. You should alert the school in any case.

Chicken pox – Once thought to be a childhood rite of passage, it is clear that chicken pox is not always a simple illness especially for those who have compromised immune system or those who contract the illness as adults. If possible, have your child vaccinated for chicken pox by your GP. If they contract chicken pox, definitely keep them home from school and seek medical attention.

Head lice – The scourge of every mother, father or carer of child with long hair, head lice can be a nightmare. If your child picks these parasites up at school, you will need to comb their hair thoroughly with a nit comb, shampoo their hair repeatedly with lice killing shampoo and wash all bedding, clothing and soft toys. Everyone in the house needs to be treated at the same time

Prevention is key – Keep hands clean and don’t share hats/ combs

For some of the maladies listed above, your child’s first line of defense is always keeping clean hands. Keep your bathrooms stocked with fun, kid friendly handwash and special soaps – turn hand hygiene into a chance for play. This will help to prevent the common cold, flus and conjunctivitis.

When it comes to head lice, ensure that your child knows never to share a comb, brush or hair accessories with other children. Even when visiting other kids’ homes, they should never be touching these items to their own head. Items most likely to spread head lice include hats, combs, brushes, hair ties, hair clips and anything else that touches the head/hair.

If you want more information from the UK government, read their official advice on stopping the spread of contagious diseases and illnesses in British schools