You’re probably familiar with the routine. Your child attends childcare, and each time they return, they seem to have picked up another illness. They recover, return to childcare, and the cycle repeats. It can feel like an endless loop, can’t it? This recurring pattern often occurs because children in childcare are in close proximity to one another and tend to share the same toys and objects. When they fall ill, there’s a high likelihood that you might catch it as well. So, what kinds of illnesses can children contract in a childcare setting?
The most common illnesses encountered in childcare settings are respiratory infections, which can be triggered by either viruses or bacteria. You’re likely quite familiar with these—constant coughing, sneezing, and persistent runny noses are common symptoms. Unfortunately, these symptoms make respiratory illnesses quite easy to spread.
Many children will experience respiratory infections multiple times throughout the year, necessitating symptom monitoring. Antibiotics are only prescribed if the infection is bacterial in origin. In cases of viral infections, rest and increased fluid intake are usually recommended.
Upper respiratory infections encompass ailments affecting the throat, tonsils, larynx, middle ear, as well as conditions like head colds, the flu, and whooping cough.
On the other hand, lower respiratory infections affect the chest or lungs, including conditions such as bronchitis, croup, and pneumonia.
Gastrointestinal (gastro) illness can strike swiftly and intensely, which can be quite challenging for our young children. Gastroenteritis impacts the digestive system and may result in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Due to its high contagiousness, it’s important not to send your child to school if they have gastro, and at home, it’s crucial to maintain proper hygiene practices to prevent the illness from spreading. Additionally, make sure to provide your child with ample fluids to prevent dehydration.
Many parents experience a moment of panic the first time they notice a rash on their child, but rest assured, rashes are more common than you might imagine. They often result from various viral infections and can even indicate that the child is no longer contagious. If you’re concerned, it’s a good idea to consult your GP, but typically, rashes tend to vanish within a few days.
One of the rashes you might hear about most frequently is hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is caused by a viral infection. This condition presents with symptoms like small blisters that can appear inside the mouth, as well as on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It’s highly contagious, so it’s crucial to wait for the blisters to dry up and for both the rash and fever to subside before considering the illness non-contagious.
Discovering that your child has lice can be distressing for any parent, especially since it’s usually up to them to eliminate these tiny pests. Unfortunately, these minuscule head lice are quite common and easily transmitted. Although they can’t jump or fly, they spread through direct head-to-head contact, which is more frequent among young children than you might realise. Let’s face it, our little ones aren’t known for respecting personal space, are they?
Addressing the issue promptly is crucial. You can opt for the wet combing method using conditioner and a fine-tooth comb or use a prescribed treatment containing either synthetic or natural insecticides. Always adhere to the instructions diligently and ensure that all lice are effectively removed; otherwise, the infestation may persist and continue to spread.
Have any more questions? Feeling unwell? Consult with your regular GP or book an online telehealth appointment with one of our doctors.