As any parent can attest, seeing your child excitedly walk out the door with their new backpack and onto a bus to start their formal education can produce a whole host of emotions.
Coming home with a scab from the playground is a right of passage for most kids, but what about the flu or a stomach virus? As parents, we can’t always control what happens to our child outside of home, but we can prepare ourselves for what infections they may catch. Keep reading to learn more about common infections and diseases contracted at schools.
It begins with an itch, innocent enough. Before long, your child is scratching their head nonstop and what you dreaded was true seems more and more likely – head lice. Don’t worry too much – lice are actually incredibly common amongst small children as they’re in such close proximity to each other while at school. The sooner you find them, the easier they are to treat. Let’s look at some of the symptoms of lice on your child.
- Itching and scratching, especially around the ears and base of scalp
- Sensation of something moving on scalp
- Sores and even bleeding caused by scratching
Your child may describe a tickling feeling on their heads and become agitated – head lice are more active at night, making it difficult to sleep. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, you’ll need to check their heads for lice. Using a flashlight and gloves, go though your child’s hair and look for sesame seed sized, brown insects. They may be on the scalp or attached to hair strands. If you can’t see the lice, try wetting your child’s hair and brushing through it with a fine toothcomb. The lice will get caught and you should be able to see them in the comb.
It’s important to remember that contracting lice has nothing to do with cleanliness or personal hygiene. There aren’t any preventive measures against lice, but you can always do routine checks every couple of months to ensure your child hasn’t taken any unwanted guests home from school. If you find lice, immediately alert your school so that other parents can take necessary actions.
For an instructional video on how to find head lice, visit here.
As with head lice, ringworm is a common infection among young children. Contrary to its name, ringworm is a fungal infection, not a worm. It’s spread through the contact of infected persons and personal items, like hats and coats – this makes school the perfect breeding ground for an infection like ringworm. We’ve listed some of the symptoms below.
- Scaly, red patches
- Hair loss on scalp in circle spots
- Raised, circle rashes on the face
- Low grade fever
Ringworm is also commonly transmitted from animals, like cats and dogs, to children. Remind kids to never pet or get too close to an unfamiliar or stray animal without an adult. Ringworm is easily cured with antibiotics – just make sure you child finishes their entire prescription as this infection can return if not properly treated.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
Most commonly contracted by children under the age of 8, this infection is spread through the contact of infected persons or through air. HFMD usually produces mild symptoms that can be controlled with over the counter medications, like mouth numbing sprays and pain relievers. Here are some of the symptoms.
- Blisters inside the mouth, starting in the back
- Mild fever
- Sores on hands, feet, around the mouth and sometimes on the genitals and buttocks
The infection can be treated with over the counter medication, like mouth numbing sprays and pain relievers. Symptoms usually go away on their own but in some very rare cases, HFMD may lead to meningitis or even encephalitis. If your child doesn’t begin to feel better within a week, see a physician to ensure the disease hasn’t progressed into something worse.
A few sniffles and scuffs are inevitable in childhood. Reminding your children to keep up with good habits, like always washing their hands, will help to ensure they don’t contract something more serious. Come visit our freestanding facility in Laredo for quick, compassionate and convenient care if your child becomes sick or contracts an infection.
STAT Emergency Center of Laredo & Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on our trusted brand to deliver the emergency care you deserve at any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.