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Winter’s Most Dreaded: Identify and treat.

Winter has arrived and along with it comes the Cold and Flu season. Doctors’ waiting rooms and A&E departments are full of children this time of year, as we all do our best to keep everyone healthy. Therefore, we thought that we would share some information with you about the various illnesses and what to do in the event that they occur. Please note that where it is stated ‘seek medical advice’, this may be referring to Doctors, Surgery Nurses, Pharmacists or the NHS phone line (dial 111 for non-emergency advice.)

For more information, you can also check www.nhs.uk or contact the nhs via twitter https://twitter.com/NHSChoices





Viral chest infection most common in infants under 12months. Starts as a cold that progresses to a fever and a wheezing cough.

Seek medical advice Keep child hydrated.


Chickenpox has a sudden onset of fever, runny nose, cough and a generalized rash. The rash starts with blisters which then scab over. Several ‘crops’of blisters occur so that at any one time there will be scabs in various stages of development. The rash tends to be more noticeable on the trunk than on exposed parts of the body and may also appear inside the mouth and on the scalp. Some infections can be mild or without symptoms.

Please keep your child at home a minimum of five days from onset of rash

Various topical solutions and/or anti-hystamine medicines are available from your Pharmacy to help with the itching, along with medicines to help with any fevers. Consult your pharmacist about which can be used together.

If symptoms worsen, please see your Doctor. Encourage frequent washing of hands and dispose of any tissues after one use.


The eye/s becomes reddened and swollen and there may be a sticky yellow or green discharge. Eyes usually feel itchy and ‘gritty’ Topical ointment can be obtained from the Doctor of Pharmacy to treat the infection.

No need to keep child off school, once eye/s have been treated once.

Discourage child from rubbing their eyes, and to wash hands frequently.


A barking cough, sometimes accompanied by a temperature, often in the middle of the night.

Condition can be improved by taking child into a hot humid environment (steam up the bathroom) or by cool dry air (bundle them up and take them outside) if symptoms persist, or these methods do not work, seek medical advice.

Diahorrea and Vomitting.

Diahorrea is one or more episodes of loose stools, generally (but not always) accompanied by stomach cramps.

Children must be kept away from school for a minimum of 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting or Diahorrea. This is to prevent the spread of infection. The child must be kept hydrated and encouraged to wash hands frequently.

Influenza (Flu)

Influenza is a respiratory illness and commonly has a sudden onset. Symptoms include headache, fever, cough, a sore throat, aching muscles and joints and tiredness.

Annual flu vaccination can help to prevent the Flu.

Seek medical advice. Once diagnosed, keep child off school until recovered.

Glandular fever.

Glandular fever causes extreme tiredness, aching muscles, sore throat, fever, swollen glands and occasionally jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

Seek medical advice. Once diagnosed, keep child away from school until recovered.

Hand, Foot and Mouth

Much like Chickenpox, the child develops a fever and a rash with blisters, but only on their cheeks (sometimes inside their mouths, check for ulcers) hands and feet.

Seek medical advice. Encourage frequent washing of hands, and dispose of any tissues after one use.


Impetigo is an infectious bacterial skin disease. Can be a complication of an existing condition such as eczema, scabies or insect bites. Can develop anywhere on the body, but lesions tend to occur on the face, joints and limbs.

Seek medical advice Please keep your child away from school until the lesions have crusted over and healed or 48 hours after commencing antibiotics.


Measles is a highly infectious viral infection. Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis (sticky eye), high fever, small white spots (Koplik spots) inside the cheeks. At around day three of the illness a rash of flat red or brown blotches appear, beginning on the face and spreading all over the body.

Immunisations can help to prevent the illness. Seek medical advice. Please keep children away from school for a minimum of 4 days after the rash has appeared.

Meningitis (Viral)

Headache, fever, gastrointestinal or upper respiratory tract involvement in some cases a rash. Active illness seldom lasts longer than 10 days.

Seek Medical advice.How the disease is spread depends on the virus causing the illness. But children can return to school once well enough. Siblings need not stay home from school unless showing signs of illness too.

Meningococcal meningitis and Meningitis Septicaemia.

Common signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia include fever (rapidly progressing) severe headache, photophobia (intolerance of light) neck stiffness, non-blanching rash (see actions to the right.) vomiting and drowsiness.

Seek medical advice. If a rash appears, use the glass test. Using a glass tumbler, press firmly on the rash. If the rash doesn’t disappear and the child has any other symptoms, contact doctor immediately. Please note that the rash is usually a late onset symptom.

Vaccinations can help to prevent the illness. Check www.nhs.uk

Meningitis (bacterial) caused by other bacterias

Symptoms are very much as above.

Vaccinations can help to prevent the illness. Check www.nhs.uk


Raised temperature and general malaise. Stiffness or pain in the neck or jaw. The glands in the cheeks and under the jaw swell up and cause pain. The swelling can be on one side or both. Occasionally there can be swelling in the testicles.

Seek medical advice. Children can return to school 5 days after the onset of swelling as long as they are well enough.

Vaccinations can help to prevent this illness. Check www.nhs.uk

Rubella (German Measles)

Symptoms are usually mild. Rash can often be the first indication, although there may be mild catarrh, headache or vomiting at the start.

Seek medical advice. Child may return to school 6 days after the appearance of the rash if well enough. Pregnant women. Who come into contact with a child suffering from German measles should seek medical advice. Vaccinations can help to prevent this illness. Check www.nhs.uk

Scarlett fever.

Acute inflammation of the Tonsils or pharynx. The tonsils may be deep red in colour. There may be a high fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. A rash develops on the first day of the fever, it is a small pinhead type rash which makes the skin feel like sandpaper, and the tongue has a strawberry-like appearance.

Seek medical advice. Child may return to school after the first 24hours of anti-biotics if well enough.

Slapped Cheek/Fifth disease/Parvo virus B19

Mild feverish illness. A rash appears after a few days. The rose-red rash makes the cheeks appear bright red, hence the name. the rash may spread to the reswt of the body, but rarely involves the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The rash usually goes after a week. It may reappear some months later after a warm bath, sunlight, heat or a fever.

As the child is no longer infectious once the rash appears, no need to keep the child off school if well enough. If a woman who is less than 20 weeks pregnant comes into contact with a child suffering from slapped cheek, they must seek medical advice immediately.


Swelling and reddening of the Tonsils, sore throat and temperature. Most causes of Tonsillitis are viral, though may become bacterial. Check in your child’s mouth for a white or yellow discharge from the tonsils . Another tell tale sign is the smell of camphor or moth balls on the breath. If bacterial, they may develop a high fever and aching joints.

Seek medical advice if child appears very unwell. If viral and the child is well enough, they may return to school. If bacterial, they may return to school after the first 24 hours of anti-biotics if well enough.

Whooping Cough.

Bacterial chest infection caused by Bordetella pertussis. Begins as a very heavy cold with a temperature and persistent cough. The cough becomes worse and usually the characteristic ‘Whoop’ de3velops. Coughing spasms are worse at night and may be associated with vomiting.

Seek medical advice. Child may return to school after 48hours of anti-biotics if well enough. Vaccinations can help to prevent this illness. Check www.nhs.uk



Recovering from diarrhoea or vomiting

Staff and pupils cannot return to school until they have been symptom free for 48 hours (previously 24 hours)

This restriction is to reduce the increased risk of pupils and staff acquiring an infection at school.

The advice to restrict a person returning to school until completely symptom free for 48 hours comes from the Government department ‘Public Health England’.

The Public Health England guidance on infection control in schools and healthcare settings can be found on the school website under about us and medical and illness or here.

Please remember to contact the school office if your child is unwell.

New Guide to Common Childhood Illnesses launched

The Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a new booklet on common childhood illnesses which now available onlineChildhood illnesses, your guide contains help and advice on how to spot the signs of these illnesses such as coughs, colds, diarrhea and vomiting and ear infections as well as guidance on how to help your child get better at home.  There is also information on what to look out for and where to find help if you need it

A copy is available below.