In Collaboration with the Myths and Misconceptions: School Illnesses Campaign
When the kids go back to school, all parents hope they’ll have a happy and healthy time there. Sharing is encouraged within classrooms but unfortunately, that unintentionally extends to the spreading of bugs, which can lead to common school illnesses. Good attendance is encouraged in education but in the case of sickness, absences cannot be avoided. Knowing when and how long to keep your kids off school when they are unwell, can be confusing. Thankfully, Medical Tracker has launched a Myths and Misconceptions: School Illnesses campaign to help parents understand the facts. Read on for more information:
5 Common Childhood School Illnesses
In this campaign, we are looking at five common childhood school illnesses. They are Chickenpox, Impetigo, Group A Strep, Tonsillitis and Meningitis.
Preventing the Spread of Illnesses
As both a parent and a teacher, I think it’s very important to try to prevent the spread of illnesses where we can. This was witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although most childhood illnesses can be harmless to most other children and adults, there are situations where we need to be more careful. Perhaps another child in school (or their family member) or a staff member has a compromised immune system. This means they will be sick for longer and struggle to get better, so it’s not fair to pass on illnesses to them where they can be avoided.
These illnesses can also have serious complications for pregnant people, including teachers and school staff members. This is because, during pregnancy, your immune system is focused on protecting the foetus, which means you may find it harder to fight off infections. Additionally, whilst a baby is still developing, they’re more susceptible to long-term conditions due to illness.
Myths and Misconceptions about School Illnesses
The myths and misconceptions about school illnesses can be confusing. One common myth for example is: “Once you’ve had chickenpox, you are immune from it for life”. Make sure you download the printable PDF within this guide so you can be armed with the facts. The truth is: “When you contract chickenpox, the body develops antibodies called immunoglobulins. These antibodies fight off the chickenpox virus during later exposure. However, not everyone who has contracted chickenpox will develop enough antibodies to be immune, and they may be vulnerable to contracting the illness again”. I know both Dave, myself and at least one of our kids has contracted chicken pox more than once.
How Long Should My Child Stay Off School When Ill
In school, we have a poster stating the recommended times for staying off school for certain contagious illnesses. This is so handy when parents ring in sick, we can advise them on the Government Guidelines. Print off the PDF guide and pin it on your board so you know how long you need to keep your child off when ill. Of course, it also depends on when your child is well enough to come back to school.
It’s important they have adequate time to recover fully even after they are no longer contagious. I remember I was absent from secondary school for a long time when I had chicken pox. I’d felt very ill before the spots appeared and had to stay home and rest. Then the spots appeared and I had to wait until they had all crusted over, which meant I was no longer contagious. But it still took a while after that for me to feel well enough for school. Thankfully, my neighbour brought homework for me, so I didn’t get behind. I personally found that the younger my kids had chicken pox, the more quickly they recovered from it -but everyone is different.
Letters about Attendance
As a parent, I worry about my child’s attendance when they are off school. I try to get them into school every day. They only miss school due to illness. However, one bout of illness and their attendance can drop below the desired percentage and the school automatically sends out an “attendance concern” letter. I know it’s just procedure but personally, I wish that schools would spend more time and effort sending work home to absent pupils or helping them catch up when they return, rather than to ask them to try and improve their attendance when they can’t help being ill. We were even sent one when Danny was off for weeks having major open heart surgery. A get-well card would be more appropriate. I do believe this system means parents feel pressured to send their children back before they have fully recovered. If you are worried, contact the school and let them know the absence was down to illness and keep in touch with the school until your child returns. Their health is important.
Your Child’s Health Matters
Now your child has started or returned to school, take a look at the Myths and Misconceptions: School Illnesses campaign and download the printable PDF guide so you always have it ready.
- to always trust your gut instinct if your child is not well
- to ring and see your GP if you have any concerns
- to report any absences to school and keep in touch
- to allow your child the adequate time they need to recover