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Tips for back-to-school health

Tips for back-to-school health

​The start of school is an exciting time for many families, but it can often mean sick children. The close quarters of a classroom can become a breeding ground for germs of all sorts including bacteria, fungi and parasites.

​"Close contact during summer activities including day camps, contact with animals from farms or visits to families and friends with pets can mean children are bringing different bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites to school," says Dr. Lee Goneau, Scientific Director of Microbiology at Dynacare. "Exposure to these germs can result in children contracting communicable infections which could then spread to their peers."

The following are some of the common illnesses on Goneau's list of back-to-school health concerns.

Common illnesses include:

  • Ringworm (Tinea capitis): Fungal infection causing an itchy, red, scaly rash on the scalp.
  • Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: Viral infection causing a rash on hands, feet and mouth and other parts of the body.
  • Pink eye (Conjunctivitis): Causes red, itchy, irritated eyes with discharge. It's highly contagious and spread through contact with the virus or bacteria to your eye.
  • Head Lice: Lice are insects that feed on human blood through the scalp.
  • Norovirus: Causes inflammation of stomach and/or intestines which causes diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever and aches.
  • Influenza (flu): Contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.
  • Mononucleosis (mono): Caused by contact with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and other viruses.

What can parents do to help prevent illness:

  • Encourage and teach children proper hand washing and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Remind children not to share personal items like water bottles, cups, hair- and tooth-brushes or hats with others.
  • Put alcohol-free hand sanitizer on your back-to-school shopping list.
  • Ensure children stay home when they're sick (or have head live).
  • Encourage children to cough or sneeze into their elbow or cover their mouth and nose. ​

Article from The Burlington Post.