10+ Most Common Illnesses Our Children Could Catch At School

By Sarah M 8 months ago

The Common Cold

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We've all had it and we all can't believe there still isn't a cure! It's the relatively harmless illness that can still absolutely wipe us out; the common cold is caused by various viruses and as it is spread by close contact, your child can't avoid catching it at least once a year.

The Flu

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It's just the worst isn't it? Seasonal influenza can make you bedridden for days on end with a fever, chills and a banging headache. Unfortunately, it is very easy to catch in crowded spaces, so your child's school classroom is a hotspot for this horrible virus.

Bronchitis

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This one can be both viral and bacterial; lucky us, there are multiple ways to get Bronchitis! The inflammation of your child's bronchial tubes could cause wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain and a sore throat. Keep an eye out for these symptoms and consult a doctor.

Pneumonia

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Extremely dangerous if left untreated, pneumonia is an infection of the lungs which can be either viral or bacterial. Symptoms are a cough with greenish or bloody mucus, a fever, chills, shallow breathing, a stabbing pain when taking in air and extreme fatigue.

Strep Throat

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Strep throat can be caught by anyone but is most common in children, so definitely one to watch out for! Strep is a bacterial infection that causes a scratchy, sore throat; however, if it is left untreated it can lead to rheumatic fever and inflamed kidneys.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

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If you have a young child under the age of 10, this is one to be aware of. Hand, foot and mouth disease predominantly affects the very young but can be caught by anyone. This is a common infection that causes mouth ulcers and spots on the feet and hands.

Chickenpox

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Most of us will remember catching chickenpox as a child and some of us still have the scars from it! It is highly contagious so if your child's school friend is currently home sick with it, expect to be finding that signature itchy, spotty rash on your little one soon!

Conjunctivitis

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Now this can be particularly unpleasant and stressful for a small child; conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies or infection and is sometimes known as pink eye. It causes red, puss filled eyes that feel as though they are burning, itching and gritty.

Head Lice

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Once one child catches the dreaded head lice, these little parasitic insects will be jumping from head to head all day long! Nits are very very common in children and have absolutely nothing to do with your child's cleanliness. If your kid is itching their head, it's time to get the comb out!

Ringworm

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Despite its name, ringworm actually has nothing at all to do with worms! It is a very common fungal infection that can be caught via direct contact. The main symptom is the signature circular rash which presents in a scaly or swollen ring shape anywhere on the body.

Impetigo

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Impetigo is not usually very serious but is highly contagious so always one to watch out for in school children. The symptoms are red blisters and sores that, once burst, can look a bit like cornflakes! These crusty patches can spread over the body and be very itchy for your child.

Gastroenteritis

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Gastroenteritis can be caught by a viral infection or bacteria and can be very very unpleasant! It is particularly common in young children and causes diarrhoea and vomiting. Your child will most likely recover within the week but if it persists, contact your doctor.

Norovirus

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You may know Norovirus by its other name 'The Winter Vomiting Bug'... pretty dreamy right?! It is one of the possible causes of the aforementioned gastroenteritis and is highly contagious. Alongside the vomiting and diarrhoea, other symptoms are a headache and high temperature.

RSV

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RSV or 'Respiratory Syncytial Virus' is a very common respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms in your little one. If your child has lost their appetite, has a runny nose and a high temperature, is coughing, sneezing and wheezing, they might have caught RSV.

Mono

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Mononucleosis is a highly contagious infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. If you are the parent of a teenager, this is one to particularly watch out for. It is often referred to as the 'kissing disease' as it is easily spread through saliva. Watch out for fever, body aches and fatigue.

Measles

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Measles may start with harmless cold-like symptoms but is easily spread and can develop into something very serious if left untreated. Symptoms are a runny nose, a cough, high temperature and watery eyes alongside the signature measles rash. This starts on the face and spreads across the body.

Mumps

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Mumps is another viral infection that was once extremely common in children before the introduction of the MMR vaccine. If your child has not been vaccinated, watch out for the number one symptom - the hamster face! Children will develop large swellings of the salivary glands in the sides of the face.

Whooping Cough

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Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract. As it is so easily spread and can be serious, our little ones can now be vaccinated against it. It is recognised by the 'whoop' sound your child will make between intense bouts of coughing.

Fifth Disease

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This viral infection is famous for its distinctive rash which has earnt it it's alternate medical name: 'slapped cheek syndrome'. Alongside flu like symptoms, your child will develop redness in one or both cheeks and a rash on the chest, arms and legs.

Roseola

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Another rash-inducing infection that may affect your young child is Roseola. This is usually not very serious and your child should recover within a week. Alongside cold-like symptoms, your child will develop a rash on their chest, back and stomach that will spread to the face.

Scarlet Fever

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Scarlet fever is prevalent amongst young children and can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Although the dramatic rash is the famous sign, other symptoms like a temperature, a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes tend to appear 1 to 2 days prior.

Covid

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I know we are all sick of hearing about it, but COVID-19 is still making it's way around school classrooms all over the world. As we all know by now, the symptoms include a new and continuous cough, loss or change to your senses of taste and smell and a high temperature.

Hand Sanitizer Poisoning!

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Not necessarily something that is 'caught', but since the rise of COVID-19, schools across the world have had an influx of hand sanitizer poisoning. If your child has ingested sanitizer, we would advise taking your kid straight to the Emergency Department to be safe.

Anxiety & Depression

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When our children are under pressure to achieve academically, whilst going through the changes of adolescence, it is only natural their mental health will suffer in some way. If your child appears withdrawn or is often tearful or panicky, maybe consider seeking a professional opinion.

Salmonella

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If your child is experiencing abdominal pain, loose stools, fever and nausea, they may have caught the bacterial infection 'salmonella'. It is a type of food poisoning, caused by  bacteria found in the gut of many animals and birds and can be prevented with good hand hygiene.

STIs

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As parents, this is something we must educate ourselves on. If our teenager is in any way sexually active, it is very possible that they could catch an STI or STD. Shame and secrecy means they can go untreated and lead to serious complications; so it is important to be open and accepting.

Lyme Disease

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Lyme disease is another bacterial infection but this time it is spread via a bite from an infected tick. The main symptom is an oval shaped rash around the bite which can last several weeks. If the tick is still present, remove with tweezers and clean the bite with antiseptic.

E. Coli

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The dreaded E. Coli can be caught by your child eating contaminated food, touching infected animals, through contact with other children with the illness or by playing in contaminated ponds or streams. Symptoms include stomach cramps, fever and diarrhoea.

Hepatitis

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Inflammation of the liver can develop as a result of a viral infection, so it is important you keep an eye on your child's symptoms. Acute hepatitis has symptoms similar to the flu or food poisoning with the addition of yellowing of the skin and eyes and itchiness.

Ear Infections

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If your young child is rubbing or pulling at their ear, keep losing their balance or stops reacting as usual to certain sounds, they may have developed an ear infection. If your child has caught a respiratory infection from another kid at nursery, this can easily spread to the middle ear.