Child illness

Children may fall victim to a variety of different illnesses whilst at home or at nursery so here is some information to assist you when identifying these.

Round and Round the Gardens Childcare values each child's health and we do everything we can to prevent infection when children are at nursery.

Children are encouraged to wash their hands regularly and practice good hygiene and toys and equipment are regularly sterilised and cleaned by members of the Round and Round the Gardens team.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, some children will pick up illnesses, many of which are contagious even before they display symptoms. Because of this we enforce strict exclusion periods for children suffering from certain illnesses or symptoms to reduce risk of cross-infection within the nursery, both towards other children and our parents and employees.

Please take a look at the attached links to some of the most common illnesses children may suffer from and note the enforced exclusion periods for each. You can also read more by clicking on the links to the NHS website. All of our exclusion periods are decided upon after consultation with the Department of Health and Public Health England.

 

Chickenpox

A mild but highly infectious condition, chickenpox causes an itchy rash that blisters and then crusts over.

Most common in children under ten years of age, chickenpox is so common in childhood that 90% of adults who grew up in the UK are now immune as they have had it before.

Chickenpox can cause serious complications for pregnant women and their babies and so it is vital that children suffering from it remain away from nursery until they are clear.

There is no cure for chickenpox although symptoms can be relieved through painkillers and calamine lotion. In most people, the blisters crust up and fall off naturally within one to two weeks.

Symptoms

The most common symptom is the red rash that covers the body. Some people may only have a few spots but in others it may cover the whole body. It may appear behind the ears, on the face, over the scalp, under the arms, on the chest and stomach or on the arms and legs.

It starts as small, itchy red spots. After 12-14 hours they develop into blisters which are intensely itchy.

Exclusion period

Until spots have crusted over (minimum of five days)

Read more about this illness at the NHS website.

Conjunctivitis

The swelling of the transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eyeball and the inner surfaces of the eyelids.

Infective conjunctivitis is caused by a virus or bacteria and is very common in children in a nursery environment.

Symptoms

The symptoms normally begin in one eye and after one to two days, the other eye often becomes affected too.

Symptoms may include red and watering eyes and a sticky coating on the eyelashes.

Lubricant eye drops can be purchased over-the-counter or they may be prescribed to help ease soreness and stickiness. You can also gently clean away sticky substances with cotton wool soaked in water.

Exclusion period

 Once medication has been prescribed and given for at least 24 hours.

Read more about this illness at the NHS website.

Hand, Foot & Mouth

A common, mild illness that is cause by a type of virus called an entovirus.

Hand, foot and mouth is very contagious and easily spread and is common in children under ten.

It is possible to catch the disease more than once but children are unlikely to catch it again during the same outbreak.

Generally, the disease is mild and short-lasting and will clear after about 7-10 days.

Symptoms

Symptoms start appearing three to five days after infection and last for seven to ten days. First symptoms will include fever, loss of appetite, sore throat or small red spot in the mouth, throat and skin.

After one or two, red spots in the mouth will develop into painful ulcers, particularly around the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks. It may be difficult to eat, drink or swallow.

Any red spots on the skin will turn into a non-itchy rash over the next two days. The spots are flat or raised and will develop on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and between the fingers and toes.

Exclusion period

Until symptoms have subsided.

Read more about this illness at the NHS website.

Impetigo

Highly contagious bacterial infection on the surface layers of the skin.

Impetigo most commonly affects children. It can be easily spread in nursery where children are in close contact.

Impetigo is not serious but is highly contagious and every effort should be taken to avoid spreading it to other people such as washing hands after touching affected skin areas and not sharing towels or bed sheets.

Antibiotics are usually recommended to treat the impetigo and minimise the spreading.

Symptoms

Red sores usually occur around the nose and mouth. However other facial areas may be affected.

The sores quickly burst, leaving thick golden crusts that, when dry, leave a red mark that usually heals without scarring. It is important not to touch or scratch the sores.

Exclusion period

Until legions are crusted or healed.

Read more about this illness at the NHS website.

Measles

A highly infectious viral illness which causes a range of symptoms including fever and red-brown spots on the skin.

The most effective way of preventing measles in the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR).

Consequently, measles cases are rare but are most common among children aged 1-4 years old.

The body's immune system will naturally fight off measles within a couple of weeks after which you typically develop an immunity to it. However complications such as pneumonia, ear and eye infection and croup can appear.

If you suspect that your child has measles, then see your GP immediately.

Symptoms

Around 9-11 days after the infection, the following symptoms will appear: cold-like symptoms (runny nose, watery eyes), red eyes and sensitivity to light, a mild to sever temperature, tiny grey-white spots in the mouth and throat, tiredness and lack of energy, aches and pains, poor appetite, dry cough and a red-brown spotty rash.

These symptoms generally last up to 14 days.

The rash appears three to four days after the initial symptoms and last up to eight days. Usually starting behind the ears, the spots spread around the head and neck then to the legs and rest of the body.

Exclusion period

 At least nine days after onset of rash and the child feel well.

Read more about this illness at the NHS website.

Mumps

usually affecting children, mumps is highly contagious is the most common symptom is a swelling of the glands.

The mumps virus is spread in the same way as the cold virus or flu. It can be spread through direct or indirect contact and so it is important that children carrying the virus are kept away from others as much as possible.

It is especially dangerous for pregnant women so children should not attend nursery until after the exclusion period.

People are most contagious for one to two days before the onset of symptoms and for five days afterwards.

Symptoms

Symptoms of mumps can develop between 15 and 24 days after being infected.

Swelling of the glands is the most common symptom of mumps and are located on either side of the face, just below the ears. usually both glands are affected but in some cases only one gland may be affected.

The swelling also causes additional symptoms such as a feeling of pain in the swollen glands and pain on swallowing. Other symptoms may include headaches, joint pain, nausea, dry mouth, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, a high temperature or fatigue.

Exclusion period

Eight days from when swelling begins.

Read more about this illness at the NHS website.

Sickness & diarrhoea

Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the intestinal tract which usually results in diarrhoea. Being sick or vomiting is another common symptom.

The most common organisms which cause gastroenteritis are viruses. Children are particularly susceptible to these infections and almost every child will have had rotavirus, the most common cause, by the age of five.

Gastroenteritis is usually highly infectious. It can be passed very easily from person to person and particularly in environments such as nursery where children are in close contact.

Symptoms

In addition to diarrhoea and vomiting, children affected by gastroenteritis may also have stomach cramps, headaches, aching arms and legs or high temperatures.

Symptoms may last as little as 24 hours or as much as seven days. Most people make a full recovery in 2-3 days.

Exclusion period

48 hours after last symptoms.

Read more about this illness at the NHS website.

Slapped cheek

This common childhood infection shows itself in the appearance of a bright red rash on both cheeks.

Sometimes known as fifth disease and erythema infectiosum, slapped cheek syndrome can affect people of all ages.

It is caused by a virus called parvovirus B19 and you may not even realise if you have been infected with this as the symptoms are mild.

Symptoms

Your child may have a high temperature, sore throat or headache to begin with. They are most contagious at this point. Up to seven days later they will develop a bright red rash on both cheeks.

Finally, the rash will spread to your child's chest, stomach, arms & thighs. This will usually happen up to four days after the rash on their cheeks.

Exclusion period

Until the rash has faded.

Read more about this illness at the NHS website.