5 Common School-Year Infections

Off to school – or home for the day? It’s not always a clear choice for parents when their kids are feeling under the weather. But health care providers point to the most obvious reason for keeping your child home – a contagious infection.




The pediatric health website KidsHealth.org lists these five contagious illnesses to look out for.




1. Pinkeye – Prevent spreading pinkeye by having your child wash his hands often with soap and warm water, not touch his eyes and avoid sharing eyedrops, makeup, pillowcases, washcloths and towels.




2. Strep Throat – Strep throat spreads through close contact, unwashed hands and airborne droplets from sneezing or coughing. Prevent the spread by keeping a sick child’s eating utensils separate and washing them in hot, soapy water or a dishwasher. Instruct your child to sneeze or cough into her shirtsleeve.




3. Head Lice – It’s common among kids ages 3-12 (and more so among girls), but anyone can become infected. Discourage your child from sharing combs, brushes, hats and helmets.




4. Molluscum Contagiosum – It sounds like a wizard curse from the Harry Potter book series, but it’s actually a skin rash common among kids ages 1-12. Many parents aren’t familiar with it, but it spreads easily and usually by skin-to-skin contact. Kids can also get it by touching objects with the virus on them (think toys, clothes, towels, bedding). Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water and avoid sharing towels, clothing or other personal items to prevent its spread.



5. Walking Pneumonia – It spreads through person-to-person contact or breathing in particles sent into the air by sneezing or coughing. Walking pneumonia usually develops gradually and can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Encourage kids to wash hands frequently to prevent its spread.

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