Kids are returning to school and some are bringing viruses back with them.
How do you protect your children from picking up yet another infection from their playmates?
Read on for the secret of keeping your child safe!
Children have this strange talent for picking up bugs and infections from their schools. When school reopens, it’s just a matter of a few weeks or days before the kids bring home a nasty cold or cough. You’d be fussing over their temperatures, and then end up as the next victims of the bug.
But instead of resigning yourselves to the inevitable, you can be glad to know that it’s possible to keep childhood infections down to a minimum. Here are some of the ‘friends’ that your child most often brings home from school.
Oh sure, there’s no fever, sweating, or fainting when your child brings back these ‘friends’ from school, but it’s enough to get us all heated up and in a swoon anyway. If the constant itching and scratching isn’t annoying enough, head lice are extremely contagious and can spread quickly to you and even your pets. These infections or ‘infestations’ are most common at the beginning of the year.
Treatment: A head lice shampoo in combination with patiently and diligently removing head lice with a nit comb will help. Additionally, all bedding, towels, clothing and combs should be disinfected with hot water and detergent.
Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD)
Schools and kindergartens have been closed for weeks for this. This viral infection, usually caused by the coxsackievirus, usually affects younger children under the age of ten, creating epidemic-like outbreaks. Spread through direct contact with mucus or faeces of an infected person, the disease causes fever, rashes and blisters in the mouth and on the palms and soles.
Treatment: Sadly there are no specific treatments for this highly infectious disease. However, generally, complete recovery will occur in 5 to 7 days as your child’s immune system rallies to the challenge.
Yes, it does come from chickens! Chicken pox is caused by the virus varicella which crossed over from chickens, and this inter-species virus causes a fever and itchy red spots to appear over the entire body. The red spots eventually turn into small blisters that dry up and form scabs in about a week. They occasionally cause scarring (particularly if scratched), or if they become infected with bacteria during this time.
Treatment: Like HFMD, chicken pox will run its course. Treatment is directed at reducing the itch and discomfort.
The common cold
When junior returns from school as a human fountain, spraying the room with little droplets of bacteria with every little sneeze and cough, it’s highly probable that it’s a common cold or a flu – or something more serious like pneumococcal disease.
Treatment: A cold usually runs its course without complications in one to two weeks. If the symptoms do not clear up, there is reason to suspect Pneumococcal Disease.
Pneumococcal Disease (PD) is a group of diseases that include meningitis (infection of the membranes surrounding the brain), pneumonia, otitis media and blood infections.
The singular cause is pneumococcus bacteria. Take note, infections can be deadly for very young children. And schools are the easiest places to catch an infection: up to 60% of school-going children are carriers of this potentially deadly bug. And the worst thing is, PD can be hard to spot because many of its symptoms are similar to other mild illnesses like the common cold, ear infection.
PD is the most common bacteria causing meningitis in children, and the major cause of pneumonia among children under the age of five.
Treatment: This varies according to where the bug strikes.
KEEPING THE BUGS AT BAY
Sick time can be minimised if proper hygiene and daily care is taught to children, and adopted as a habit.
What are they?
The most common route germs take into the body is via the hands. Teach your children to wash their hands thoroughly and vigorously with soap, before and after meals, after going to the washroom, after touching mucus or blood, and after outside play.
Close your mouth!
Teach children to shield their mouths when sneezing and coughing. Those droplets are laced with germs.
Eating utensils harbour germs, clothing items help the spread of lice, and straws are one of the ways kids pick up cold sores!
Keep your child in school and in the pink of health at the same time! Given the high rate of infection and resultant complications from Pneumococcal Disease, which range from permanent hearing loss, learning disabilities, speech delays and paralysis to brain damage and even death, you should consider getting your child on the Pneumococcal Disease vaccine as soon as you can.
The vaccine is highly effective and safe, while a delay in protection means a significant risk of exposure for your child.
Vaccines are also available for chicken pox and flu, while there is no known vaccine for HFMD yet.