As children return to school and settle back into their daily routine, parents should be aware that long days in class can take a toll on their children's immune system.
Classrooms usually foster bugs such as lice, stomach viruses and measles. However, the good news is, if you know how to tackle these illnesses you can have your child feeling as good as new in no time.
Here are the most common classroom bugs you should be aware of:
Lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp. Lice can spread by close contact with infected people. They may resemble dandruff, but instead of flaking off the scalp, they stay attached to the hair.
The symptoms parents should be aware of are: intense itching of the scalp, red bumps on the scalp, neck and shoulders, and tiny white eggs or nits attached to the child's hair.
Prior to treating lice rinse and dry the hair. Apply the medicine shampoo to the scalp and hair. After 10 minutes, rinse the scalp again. Check for lice and nits in the next eight to 12 hours. If lice are still active, contact your care provider.
Chickenpox is a viral infection where an individual develops an itchy rash all over the body. Some children may experience fever, headache or stomachache.
Initial symptoms include blisters on the face, middle of the body or scalp that becomes itchy and fluid-filled.
To treat chickenpox, parents should keep their children as comfortable as possible. Make sure the child avoids scratching, rubbing or irritating the areas. Use over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream on itchy areas and oral antihistamines such as Benadryl. Be aware of side effects such as drowsiness. Avoid using soothing moisturizers and use a very small amount of soap on the body. Children should also wear cool, light clothing to sleep.
However, there is a vaccine to prevent chickenpox. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss vaccination options.
Measles is a highly contagious infection that can be spread by sneezing and coughing into the air. Earlier this year there were more than 900 confirmed cases in the U.K. and in 2011 more than 200 people reported having the measles in the U.S.
To avoid contracting measles parents and children should receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Symptoms parents should be aware of are sensitivity to light, rash, muscle pain, fever, sore throat, runny nose, tiny white spots inside the mouth, etc.
There is no specific treatment for measles, however Tylenol may relieve symptoms as well as humidifying the air and bed rest.
Coughing and Sneezing is inevitable during school and flu season. Most cough syrups combat both. However, if the coughing persists, it may be a sign of the whooping cough. If the coughing continues for weeks contact your healthcare provider, your child may need additional antibiotics.
Like chickenpox and measles, whooping cough also has a recommended vaccination. DTAP vaccination can protect your child from a whooping cough outbreak.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or contact your healthcare provider for additional information.