How your child can avoid illnesses doing the rounds this term
Impetigo is a very contagious bacterial skin infection commonly affecting children between two and four. It presents with small blisters or sores, commonly on the face which burst leaving a golden yellow/brown crust. If the infection is in a small area an antibiotic cream can be used, your pharmacist may be able to prescribe this under a minor ailments scheme, otherwise see your GP. If the infection is more widespread, oral antibiotics may be needed. Children should stay at home until the lesions are crusted over or have healed.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect the scalp or other part of the skin. It is spread by direct contact (i.e. touch). Ringworm often looks like a round ring shaped rash, the outer ring may be darker in colour and it may feel scaly. On the scalp it can present with a patch of hair loss and can occur between the toes – athlete’s foot. The child is well in themselves and there is no fever. Ringworm affecting the body and feet can be treated using an antifungal cream, some of which are available over the counter so speak to your pharmacist. Scalp ringworm will need treating with oral antifungal tablets from your GP. Also pets may be affected and if so will need treatment. Children are excluded from school until treatment is started, no exclusion is necessary for athlete’s foot.
Molluscum contagiousum is a skin infection which is spread by direct contact or by touching contaminated objects such as towels. The child is well, without a fever and has small pearly pink raised firm spots which may have a central dimple, they generally occur in groups anywhere on the body. The condition will resolve on its own although it can take many months.
Otitis media is an ear infection generally caused by a viral infection of the common cold spreading through to the ear, although it can also be bacterial. It presents with fever, ear pain and may cause slight deafness on the affected side. In most cases, it clears up on its own within a few days, however if your child is more unwell this may be a bacterial infection. There can also be a build up of fluid, which can cause the ear drum to burst, leading to a discharge from the ear. In both of these cases, antibiotics are needed and your child will need to see your doctor approximately four to six weeks after treatment to check the eardrum has healed.
Tonsillitis can affect anyone, but is most common in children aged five to 15. It presents with a fever, sore throat and pain on swallowing. Most cases will get better within a week, however, if your child has a high fever, or is not eating and drinking, visit your doctor, as the infection may be bacterial. The majority of cases are viral, but bacterial infections can require antibiotics.
Discuss this story