It’s that wonderful time of year, when kids head back to school (parents collectively smile). Transitioning from the summer holidays to a new school year can be challenging for children and parents as little ones may struggle getting back into a routine and the classroom environment.
Classrooms can also cause increase the risk of exposure to infections such as fever or head lice. I hope to help you make the transition a bit smoother and advise how to get your little one back to normal health.
Head lice or nits are tiny insects that live on the scalp that feed on blood, causing itching. They are most common in children aged 3 to 11. Lice aren’t anything to be worried about, but can cause your child distress. Head lice can spread from child to child with direct contact with the hair of a child who has head lice. Lice can also spread on hats, hair brushes and sometimes bedding, however they cannot jump or fly from one person to another. They aren’t caused by the personal hygiene or cleanliness of the home or school.
HOW TO SPOT HEAD LICE
Lice or nits can be white, dark grey or brown, sesame seed sized insects that are usually spotted in the hair at the back of the neck or behind the ears. Lice eggs, called nits, can be missed as they are glued onto hairs near the scalp
HOW TO GET RID OF HEAD LICE
Lice and nits will not go away on their own, so it’s important to seek the right treatment. You should notify your child’s nursery or school so their classmates can be checked.
TOP TIP: Parents or caregivers or teachers should check their hair too!
The most common and effective methods to remove nits are;
- Lotions and sprays are applied to the scalp and hair to kill the head lice
- Special fine toothed combs are used on wet hair to draw the lice and nits out of the hair
Your Pace Pharmacy pharmacist can advise you about the treatments available if you’re not sure which is best for you or your child.
If your child feels hotter than normal, or is not acting “like themselves”, take their temperature. If it is over 38°C, it is likely that your child has a fever. Fever is often normal and gets better by itself. Fevers are usually an indication of an underlying infection and it is a natural response to help the body fight that infection.
HOW TO TREAT CHILDREN’S FEVER
To care for your child, follow these simple steps:
- Do not over or under dress your child. Clothe them in loose fitting clothes that will allow them to keep cool
- Cool compress (damp cloth) can be applied to the child’s head and neck to keep them cool
- Keep your child hydrated by offering drinks regularly. If you are breastfeeding, offer as many feeds as your little one will take.
- Make sure your child rests – this may mean keeping them from nursery or school
If your child is still unwell, they may take acetaminophen (Tempra or Tylenol) and/or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). Always check the dosage is suitable for your child (based on weight and/or age) or talk to your Pace Pharmacist for advice on the correct strength and dosage.
CUTS, GRAZES AND BUMPS
Kids will be kids. They will experience a few cuts and bumps while playing in the school playground or at home.
HOW TO TREAT CUTS AND GRAZES
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly
- Clean the wound under drinking-quality running tap water – avoid using antiseptic as it may damage the skin and slow healing (and sometimes cause stinging to your child).
- Pat the area dry with a clean towel
- Apply a sterile adhesive bandage, such as a Band-Aid
HOW TO LOOK AFTER A BUMP
Again, kids will be kids. Simply tripping or banging heads with another child can cause a bump/bruise to appear on their sensitive heads. If your child does experience a knock, bump or blow to the head, follow these steps;
- Sit them down and comfort them
- You can apply a cold compress to the head. A bag of ice or frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.
- Make sure they get plenty of rest
You child may complain of a mild headache, feeling sick, dizziness or blurred vision. If these symptoms continue or get worse, take your child to see a doctor.
And with that, I hope you have learned at least a couple things that will help you with the back to school season.
Contact Pace Pharmacy for any questions, special orders, or comments.