It’s inevitable. Send your child to school or daycare and you receive them back riddled with head lice, colds and flu or chicken pox or any other infection the other kids have so kindly shared.
Communicable diseases are those which spread from one person to another, through a variety of transportation methods. The occurrences of these diseases are particularly high in daycare centres and lower primary schools. This is because small children are less likely to adhere to personal hygiene standards, with teachers and/or caregivers constantly aware of those coughing or sneezing with an open mouth or not washing their hands after coming into contact with disease symptoms.
Here are 8 of the most common communicable diseases found in most schools..
A brief explanation of what it is, the incubation period (when it can be spread from person to person) and finally what you should do if you think your child has this infection.
Conjunctivitis is a bacterial or viral infection that causes the eye to become red and itchy. Sometimes there is discharge, green pus, tearing and even blurred vision. The standard incubation period for conjunctivitis is 1-3 days but this can vary should the infection be viral or bacterial. You should keep your child at home until you begin treatment with prescription eye drops because conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Some chemists do stock non-prescription eye drops for conjunctivitis, however you should seek medical advice if the condition does not improve within 2-3 days of treatment.
A good way to prevent the spread at home is to wash the family’s hands frequently (or use a good anti-bacterial gel) and to try to wipe over commonly touched surfaces with a disinfectant.
2. Common Cold
There are more than 20 different viruses that can cause sneezing, coughing and runny nose. Incubation time is two to three days. Give your child plenty of fluids and rest. Non-prescription cough medicines, decongestants and Vick’s Vapour Rub can provide relief from symptoms.
Again a way to try and prevent the spread at home is frequent hand washing, disposing of tissues thoughtfully and covering the mouth when sneezing.
Scary in name, but highly common in daycare centres, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a virus causing fever, sores in the mouth and rash with blisters on palms of the hands or soles of the feet. The incubation period is 3 to 7 days. You can give your child Panadol for the aches and fever. You should keep your child home from school/ daycare because the blisters can spread infection quickly.
This particular disease is nasty and painful – so see your Doctor if you suspect infection.
4. Influenza (Flu)
Not to be confused with the common cold, this virus causes fever, body aches, stomach symptoms (especially in children) and tiredness. Incubation period is 1 to 4 days. The child should get plenty of rest and fluids. Panadol can be given for the fever and body aches, but seek medical advice if your child is not feeling significantly better after 3 days.
These parasitic insects can be found on the scalp and in the hair and cause mild to severe itching. It takes the eggs about a week to hatch and then it takes another seven days for them to become mature adults. Use over the counter or prescription treatment on your child, plus on other family members. You must complete the full treatment advised and you also must treat your house. Wash all of the clothing and bedding in hot water. Place all stuff animals and comforters in sealed plastic bags for two weeks. Check out our post on Getting Rid of Nits on the Cheap.