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Health Concerns To Be Aware Of In Primary School

When your child begins primary school, whether they have been in a nursery or pre-school environment beforehand or not, this can often be the time they pick up illnesses. With lots of children in close proximity to each other, and teachers unable to watch each of them all of the time, this is a prime breeding ground for germs and children can end up catching all sorts of things. Here are the main health concerns to be aware of among primary school aged children:

Chicken Pox

If your child has not already had chicken pox when they get to primary school, there is a very good chance they will soon get it. This begins as one or two small blister-like spots on the skin, and these quickly spread across the whole body. Some children are lucky and get this only mildly, while others really suffer with the itchiness and even pain. Children must stay off school until all of their spots have formed a scar; this means they are no longer contagious.

Slapped Cheek Syndrome

This is also often called "fifth disease” and is very common in children. Symptoms are a red rash on both cheeks - children look like they have been running around a lot - and a high temperature. After a few days the rash may spread to other parts of the body. Children may feel generally unwell, but this clears up by itself in a couple of weeks. Many schools will have differing policies on this, so if you think your child has slapped cheek syndrome, check with your school as to whether your child can come in - if they feel well enough to!


This is one of those skin conditions that can spread like wildfire around a group of children. Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection which usually shows as a red rash with blisters on the face. Your child will usually require treatment from the GP, who will also advise as to when they should return to school.

 Scarlet Fever

The first symptoms of scarlet fever are usually flu-like symptoms, swollen neck glands and a high temperature. A few days later a rash may appear and there may be a white coating on the tongue. If you think your child has scarlet fever you should see your GP, and the school should also be informed as it is a highly contagious illness and they will usually inform other parents that there has been a case. Children will usually be prescribed antibiotics for scarlet fever, and will probably need to stay off school for at least a week.

 Sickness Bugs

Sickness bugs can often spread through schools very quickly; they will usually send a note home to advise if there is something in particular doing the rounds. Most schools have a blanket rule that children should have been clear of all sickness and diarrhoea for at least 48 hours before returning to school. 

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