Dealing with Common Illnesses

Dealing with Common Illnesses


Communicable diseases are quite common during the school-age years. Some can be avoided by vaccination, but parents of school age children must learn to take in their stride the usual run of colds, sore throats, and coughs.

If children have been exposed to a communicable disease such as measles or chickenpox, a teacher or school nurse will probably send a note home informing parents of the fact and explaining what symptoms to look for. If children develop the symptoms, they should be kept home from school and seen by a doctor, if necessary.

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Another common health problem in schools is head lice. Lice are tiny insects that infest the body. Head lice infestations have nothing to do with cleanliness. Lice spread from person to person easily, and anyone can get them. They adhere to hair and fibres and lay their eggs near egg shafts. The larvae that hatch, called nits, may look like dandruff. Lice produce substances that irritate the skin and scalp and can cause severe itching.

If a child at school has head lice, a note will go home to the parents of all children in the class room, describing how to check for and treat lice. All children who have come in contact with someone who has head lice should be examined. Head lice are most commonly found on the scalp behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the neck. The symptoms of infestation include a tickling feeling of something moving in the hair, itching caused by an allergic reaction to the bites, irritability, and sores on the head caused by scratching. If parents are unsure whether children head have lice, the child should be checked by a doctor or the school nurse.

Effective treatment for head lice can be obtained from a pharmacist.


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