Simple hygiene tips to keep your kids healthy back at school

The summer holidays have now come to an end and your little treasures will be heading back to school. Inevitably this means new germs will spread and with that a flurry of autumn illnesses so here is some practical tips to help you survive the autumn and keep the whole family healthy.

child hand washing

As we all know, prevention is better than cure and there are a number of precautions you can take to minimise the chances of your family getting ill this autumn. Here are three helpful tips:

1. Hand washing – Make sure the whole family wash their hands regularly with soap and hot water and encourage your children to wash their hands at school

2. Cover your mouth – It’s really important when sneezing or coughing that you and your family get into the habit of covering your mouth with a tissue (not a hanky!) to prevent the spread of germs. Don’t hold on to your tissue – bin it.

3. Eat well – Help your child to eat a balanced diet to make sure they are fit and strong and to build up their immune systems so they can fight off any nasty germs.
oranges

Colds

One of the first signs that your child has returned back to school is the re-appearance of a runny nose and high temperatures, meaning they are likely to have caught a cold. The cold virus often spreads quickly between children and can be passed on easily to parents as well. If you or your child is experiencing the symptoms of a cold, for example; coughing, sneezing, sore throat, headache, a temperature or a blocked nose, there are a number of things you can do to manage the symptoms. It is important to get rest, eat well and to stay hydrated. It is also worth speaking to your pharmacist for advice about medicines which are safe for children. They will be able to recommend the most appropriate treatments, for example paracetamol and ibuprofen can be taken in liquid form for younger children, though they are no longer routinely recommended to bring down a high temperature unless your child is distressed. They can also suggest over the counter treatments and decongestants for both children and their parents to help reduce symptoms as quickly as possible.

Head lice

Autumn often sees these little pests make a big come back. Contrary to popular belief, head lice like to seek out clean hair to make their home and they can be easily spread between children as they often play close to each other at school. Head lice can spread rapidly so it’s important to monitor your children regularly and treat them at the first sign of infestation. Whilst some children will experience an itchy scalp, it is worth investing in a good head lice comb to check your child’s scalp and catch them as soon as possible. There are a range of combing techniques which can be used and your pharmacist can advise you about this and provide you with a demonstration. If you identify any ‘live’ head lice, then you will need to treat your child with a medicated shampoo. Remember, head lice can spread to adults too so it is worth checking the whole family and treating anyone who is affected to ensure they don’t spread.

Vaccinations

Schools will offer a range of vaccinations for children to protect them from illnesses such as flu, measles, mumps and rubella. It is important to maintain these vaccinations to ensure your child is fully protected, especially for those with long term health conditions. If you have any questions about particular vaccinations, you can speak to the school nurse or your GP. You can also pop along to your local pharmacist who would be happy to provide you with more information.

Here is the government Immunisation against infectious disease: the green book.

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