Protect Your School-Age Children from These 6 Common Illnesses
As much as going back to school can be exciting for kids, the thought of returning to face-to-face classes can be stressful for parents. While your kids are away, you may be thinking about the illnesses or injuries they might bring home at the end of the day.
Of course, worrying about these things is understandable for any well-meaning parent. However, you can take the step towards proactively protecting your child by being informed about the common sicknesses they might experience. With that in mind, here are some of the most common illnesses that every Filipino parent should know about—and some tips on how to prevent them.
Viral Respiratory Infections (Common Cold, Sinusitis, and Flu)
The common cold is indeed a common ailment among children, especially during the rainy season. Although this illness is usually associated with cold weather and rain, the common cold is caused by a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract—not the weather. That said, cold viruses like rhinovirus spread easily in lower temperatures. Typically, young children can catch up to eight colds every year.
Symptoms of a common cold include cough, congestion, and a runny nose. Usually, colds will go away after 10 days. If your child experiences symptoms long after that, you may want to check with your doctor to determine if your child has bacterial sinusitis, an illness in which bacteria infects your child’s sinuses.
Moreover, if your child experiences a fever along with the other symptoms of the common cold, your child may have been infected by the influenza virus. The common cold, bacterial sinusitis, and the flu are all viral diseases that can be treated with antibiotics, rest, and healthy meals rich in Vitamin C. Fortunately, you have the option to buy medicine online so you can conveniently purchase your essentials and focus on taking care of your child.
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of bacteria is by reminding your child to wash their hands with soap and water. If possible, you can ask your child to bring alcohol or hand sanitizer to school as well. You can also make sure that your child gets their periodic flu shot for an extra layer of protection.
Leptospirosis is another disease that Filipino parents should be wary of, especially since flooding due to persistent storms is not uncommon in the country. This bacterial disease occurs when floodwater enters the body through an open wound, allowing the proliferation of various contaminants including rat urine, and animal feces. If your child has scratches or cuts on their body and got exposed to floodwater, you may want to check for symptoms such as fever, chills, jaundice, and red eyes.
To prevent leptospirosis, you can have your child wear protective clothing such as rain boots and a raincoat during stormy weather.
Dengue is one of the most prevalent illnesses among children in the Philippines. Generally, kids are more vulnerable to dengue because they have weaker immune systems than adults. Children are also more likely to contract dengue since schools usually have plenty of open windows and outdoor areas for children to play in.
The Philippines’ tropical climate may also play a role in the frequent dengue outbreaks in the country. Because of the persistent downpour during the rainy season, the resulting floods and rain might result in the formation of stagnant water—the breeding ground of the dengue-carrying female Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti mosquito species.
Common symptoms of dengue include high fever, vomiting, rashes, fatigue, and pain in the body and behind the eyes. When the illness turns severe, your child might experience bleeding gums, bloody urine, and abdominal pain. It’s highly recommended to consult a doctor immediately once you suspect that your child contracted dengue. To protect your child from dengue fever, consider applying mosquito repellent on your child’s skin before they go to school and remind them to stay away from ponds or fountains with conspicuous-looking water.
Pinkeye is a disease caused by the infection of the eye’s conjunctiva—the transparent membrane that lines the white part of the eye and the inner eyelid. If your child’s eyes are persistently teary, red, and itchy, they may have pinkeye. This ailment can either be caused by allergies or bacterial infections.
Pinkeye usually goes away after a week. If your child’s pinkeye was caused by bacteria, you can apply antibiotic drops to their eyes to help manage the symptoms. Aside from regular handwashing, you can prevent this disease by reminding your child to refrain from touching or rubbing their eyes. It’s also best to remind them not to share pillows or towels with others who have pinkeye.
It’s important to ensure that children get nourished every day. But sometimes, contaminated food and water could give your child diarrhea. Apart from watery stools, your child may exhibit excessive thirst when they have diarrhea. When the disease is left untreated, your child may experience severe dehydration.
To ensure that your child stays protected against diarrhea, you may want to remind them to always be discerning of the food and water they ingest. Remind your child to stay hydrated with mineral water and as much as possible, avoid eating street food.
Chickenpox is an ailment that typically requires your child to stay home for a week or two. Caused by the varicella zoster virus, chickenpox is highly infectious and can cause red spots and itchiness all over the body. Sometimes, fever can also come with the noticeable symptoms of chickenpox.
Besides reminding them to practice good hygiene, you can have your child vaccinated against chickenpox to prevent the disease and avoid lengthy sick days.
Help Your Kids Stay Healthy and Safe
No matter how often we remind them to be careful about their bodies, kids are still kids. Your child will inevitably come into contact with other people, primarily their schoolmates and teachers. On top of that, harmful bacteria could thrive in the food they buy or the surfaces they touch—be it their desks, the cafeteria table, the swings at the playground, or the seats of the jeepneys and tricycles they ride.
Still, you can help your child stay on top of their health by knowing the illnesses they are most susceptible to. While it’s true that your child will be exposed to risks when not under your supervision, you can stay one step ahead and impart some best practices that will eventually help them as they grow older.
*Article written by Briana Jones.