Back to school – myths about illnesses

JoFamily Life, Parenting

Keeping your children healthy and protecting them from illnesses

With various RAAC issues (as widely reported in the press) we have had a rather bumpy return to school. However, the new school year is here. Whilst my three boys charge back in gleefully catching up with their friends after the summer break, there is the inevitable mix of germs with colds and illnesses almost certainly around the corner. Some of these we prepare for as part of our late August routine, making sure cupboard medicine is in date for example. With so many myths about illnesses out there it’s important that we also know up-to-date signs and symptoms of common illnesses beyond a cold.

Each year we do our research because it’s amazing how quickly things can change. Vaccinations get introduced, symptoms are revised and sometimes new services are available too. Feeling as though we are some way to being aware of these updates helps when we find ourselves faced with something more serious than a sniffle.

This was the case when in March this year our youngest child caught chickenpox. We hadn’t thought to get him vaccinated. In part this was because it was not offered through the NHS childhood vaccination programme and we had not properly looked into the value of it. Many people think that chickenpox is relatively mild, I have even heard of “chickenpox parties”. Unfortunately this was not the case with our eight year old. Catching it as it made its way around primary school he was quickly covered in large spots. Not only were they on his skin and but they made their way onto his eye too. We had to take him to a specialist in hospital twice as they grew near his iris and were considered a risk to his eyesight. He was consequently off school for almost three weeks as we managed the pain and the itching and kept a close eye on him (excuse the pun!). Six weeks after they had cleared up he still needed a full eye examination to check that there was no lasting damage (thankfully there wasn’t). Even now, months later, there are scars on his back which were from spots not scratched at and that we have used a child friendly scar cream on but to no avail. Looking back I wish we had taken a closer look at the pros and cons of the vaccination.

It’s always helpful to know the signs of an illness so that we can follow proper advice in a timely manner. Keeping our child off school, for example. Or knowing when to call a doctor and the risks of illness. Some advice has changed since we were children ourselves (when tonsils were more readily removed) and research has been ongoing even since we have become parents.

Fresh air is a good guard against illnesses
Getting plenty of fresh air has been proven to be a good boost for your immune system

Alongside reading up on childhood illnesses, keeping up to date with our first aid courses is a good way to be aware of changes to the management of illnesses and how to help prevent spread. There are almost always courses running locally, sometimes short courses can be accessed for free through family information services. It’s worth checking.

The links above are a good source of advice, helping you to make informed choices. You can of course check the NHS or government websites too.

N.B. I hope that you have enjoyed this post, which was prepared in collaboration with other parties. For more information on how I work with others, please see my disclosure page.

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