Primary school children play closely with one another and their hygiene standards are sometimes not the most rigorous. A child's immune system hasn't been exposed to many viruses and infections so when a child first starts nursery or primary school it is no wonder their immune system takes a bit of a hit. Sometimes it feels like you are fighting a losing battle! Still, the more knowledgeable you are, the better prepared you will be to tackle whatever is ailing your child. Here we have listed some of the more common childhood ailments together with some helpful advice.
It is worth noting that we have a number of children in the school with compromised immune systems. If your child is unwell, with a high temperature, vomiting and or diarrhoea we would ask that you keep your child at home for 48 hours after the symptoms have improved.
If your child is going to be off ill, for whatever reason, please remember to call the school office to let us know on 01506 871404 or you can text us via Groupcall.
The school will Groupcall year groups and notify them when we have outbreaks of Impetigo or Head Lice. We do not routinely advise parents of other virus outbreaks listed below because there is little we can do to stop the spread of airborne childhood viruses.
See all this current advice from the NHS. Is My Child Too Ill For School - NHS Guidelines
Taking Medication at School
If your child needs to take medication at school, either short term or for an extended period of time, you will need to fill in some forms before staff are allowed to administer the medication. Full details and all the forms that you will require can be found on the West Lothian Council website. Alternatively, forms can be picked up at the school office, or give us a call and we can send the relevant forms home with your child.
Something which we are all too familiar with. Runny nose, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and high temperature (above 37.5c for children). Colds are normally relatively short lived but may take longer to resolve in children. More information on how to treat cold symptoms can be found here.
Can I send my child to school with a cold? - You probably can, but if they are feeling really unwell and have a temperature it is best they recover at home for a few days.
Vomiting and Diarrhoea
The dreaded tummy bug, often referred to in Winter as the Norovirus. As unpleasant as this is, vomiting and diarrhoea is normally a short lived illness and your child should be on the mend within 24 to 48 hours. Some helpful advice regarding the Norovirus can be found here.
Can I send my child to school with vomiting and diarrhoea? - No. West Lothian Council is very clear about this matter. Due to the highly contagious nature of the illness we ask that children are kept off school until at least 48 hours have passed since symptoms have improved. This means that even if your child was sick on Sunday night but feels fine on Monday morning, they should not be sent to school as the virus will be still active in their system.
Chickenpox is highly contagious and we normally see a peak of this during the Winter months and early Spring. Children develop a rash (turning into fluid filled blisters) and normally have a high temperature. Chickenpox is actually contagious for a few days prior to the spots appearing, which is why it spreads so fast through classes. Children are no longer contagious once the spots have crusted over. More information regarding Chicken Pox can be found here.
Can I send my child to school with Chickenpox? - The short answer is no. Although your child will have been contagious for a few days and been in and around the school we would ask you to not bring your child into school until the spots have crusted over. Despite this being a mild childhood illness, the high temperature and itchy rash can leave a child feeling fairly miserable. Best let them recover at home.
In recent years the school has seen a number of cases of Scarlet Fever. This is a highly infectious virus and children usually recover very well within a few days of starting antibiotics. The virus presents as a red rash on the chest and face together with a high temperature, sore throat and often children are sick. More information regarding Scarlet Fever can be found here.
Can I send my child to school with Scarlet Fever? - Scarlet Fever is contagious before the virus actually makes itself known, that is before the rash appears. That said, your child will be unwell and we recommend that children are kept off school until 24 hours have passed since antibiotic treatment has been started.
Head Lice (Nits!)
Nobody really wants to talk about head lice! Head lice are very common in young children and are nothing to do with the cleanliness of your child's hair. Children do tend to play very closely together and head lice spread quickly with head to head contact. Contrary to popular belief they don't jump, they just stroll from head to head! Thankfully (and the staff will agree!) head lice are easily sorted and more information about them and how to sort them can be found here.
Can I send my child to school with head lice? - Yes. There is no need to keep your child off school if they have head lice. Ensure that you start treating your child's hair for head lice as soon as you can. Please let the school office know if your child has contracted head lice. We can put out an email or Group call to all parents to make them aware that they should check their child's hair for any unwanted guests!
Slapped Cheek Syndrome (Fifth Disease)
This is really contagious and probably the least well known of childhood illnesses. Symptoms include, high temperature, runny nose, sore throat and red rash on the face. Children recover quickly from this, but may be out of sorts for a few days. More information about Slapped Cheek can be found here.
Can I send my child to school with Slapped Cheek? - Slapped Cheek, like Chicken Pox is actually contagious before your child shows any sign of illness. We don't insist that your child is kept off school if they have Slapped Cheek, however your child will more than likely be unwell so it is probably best they rest and recover at home for a few days. Please let the school office know if your child does have Slapped Cheek.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
This should not be confused with Foot and Mouth Disease which is spread between cattle! Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is a very common childhood illness and it normally clears up within 7 to 10 days. The illness is spread through coughs, sneezes and poo! Like a lot of childhood illnesses, and this is one of the reasons why they spread with the greatest of ease, children are infectious before they display any symptoms. Symptoms include, sore throat, high temperature, a rash and blisters (in the mouth, on the hands and feet). The blisters can be painful and your child may feel unwell. More information about Hand Foot and Mouth can be found here.
Can I send my child to school with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease? - Your child may feel unwell for a few days so it is probably wise to keep them off school to let them recover. Children should return to school as soon as they are feeling better. There is no need to wait until the blisters have healed. Keeping your child off for longer is unlikely to stop the illness spreading because the spread of this virus, like many others noted above are spread via coughs and sneezes and children are infectious way before they show signs of being unwell.
Another really contagious one! Impetigo is a skin infection and once we see one case in the school, or are notified of a case in the school, we see lots of cases! Impetigo starts off as red blisters or sores around the nose and mouth area. The blisters burst to leave a brown crusty scab. Impetigo has an incubation period, but children are only contagious once the blisters appear. Impetigo spreads quickly, so frequent hand washing is advised and no sharing of towels. Children recovery very quickly from this though it may take a few days for the rash to heal up. More information about Impetigo can be found here.
Can I send my child to school with Impetigo? - No. Impetigo is highly contagious and pretty unpleasant. We ask that your child is kept off school until the blisters have crusted over, or until at least 48 hours after antibiotic treatment has been started. Impetigo, unlike the other viruses listed here, is spread through skin to skin contact, or being in contact with items that have been exposed to infected skin eg towels, bed linen etc. Impetigo is itchy and children should be encouraged to avoid scratching infected skin as this is also how the bacteria spreads.