Head Lice and Other Contagious Health Problems

By in Health & Safety on 14 August 2010

It can be very frustrating when your child comes home sick from school, but it is typical of school-age children. It is not possible to help your child avoid contact with the contagious diseases; however, you can teach them safety habits that will discourage the spread of further illness.

Children can come home with anything from the common cold to head lice or even chickenpox. Rather than panicking, use the following information to help you determine the best course of action if your child should be one of the unlucky children to cart a contagious disease home.

The Common Cold

The common cold is one of the most transmitted contagious health problems amongst school children, especially small ones. Elementary school-age children are not typically aware that touching everything spreads germs. While you may teach your child to cover their mouths when they cough, whatever items they touch next will grab the germs. The same is true for sneezes.

Teaching your child healthy habits such as washing hands frequently and using a tissue to blow their nose instead of wiping their nose on their hands will help to curb the spread of germs. Outside of the home, however, there is no way to ascertain that other children are taught the same healthy habits.

If your child has a cold but is not running a fever, it is not necessary to call the doctor unless you see them exhibiting unusual behavior. You may choose to keep your child at home to help them heal faster.

Head Lice

Head lice can be a pain to deal with. Contrary to popular belief, head lice are not caused by lack of hygiene. Rather, head lice are contracted when you come into contact with an infected person or object such as a hair brush, or even occasionally clothing that has become infested.

Because head lice can spread extremely fast and cause an infestation within your family, it is best to treat them quickly. You can treat them with over-the-counter medicines such as Nix or Rid. If these products do not help to treat the lice problem, a visit to the doctor will yield a higher dose of prescription medicine to kill the parasites.

Remember to treat the whole family or you risk the transmission to the treated person again. Both boys and girls are prone to head lice, but it seems to be more common in girls and women.


Chickenpox cause little bumps on the skin that looks like blisters and have a tip full of white fluid. Chickenpox is very itchy and very contagious. If your child comes home with symptoms of chickenpox, schedule a visit to the doctor to confirm and keep your child home from school until the pox are gone.

If there are any adults in the house that have not had chickenpox, it is best for them to avoid any contact with the infected child as chickenpox is far more dangerous for adults than they are for children. The good news is chickenpox clears up within just a few days and your child develops immunity from contracting the disease again. There is also a vaccine on the market now that is typically given to children before they enter school.

It can be a worrisome task when your children come home from school after contracting an illness from a classmate. Teaching your children proper hygiene habits and being aware of symptoms will help you to lower your child’s risk of any serious illness. Among the illnesses that school-age children bring home are colds, head lice and chickenpox.

If your child comes home with one of these illnesses, instead of panicking, just follow your instincts and contact a doctor when necessary. Usually, keeping your children home for a few days on medication or treating the parasites is enough to get them healthy again.


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