PARENTS are concerned about a surge in common childhood illnesses like chickenpox, colds and upset stomachs as children return to the classroom.
It comes as new research* by the UK’s largest independent pharmacy chain, Well Pharmacy, shows over three quarters (76%) of mums and dads are worried that children might have to miss EVEN more school, with 87% of parents concerned that after months apart children will pick up illnesses more easily as schools reopen.
The top 5 childhood illness, parents are concerned about are:
- Chickenpox (64%)
- Vomiting and diarrhoea (63%)
- Flu (54%)
- Hand, foot and mouth disease (48%)
- Conjunctivitis (40%)
Confusion around the availability of the chickenpox vaccine could put children at risk of catching it when schools reopen. Over a third (36%) of parents believe their child have received a chickenpox vaccine at school, however they are only available privately.
Worryingly, with children having missed out on so much time at school over the last year, almost two-thirds (63%) of parents say they would feel pressure to keep their children in schools if they became ill.
Alex Zahorodnyj, Pharmacist at Well Pharmacy, said:
“Given children haven’t socialised with their friends for over two months, I can understand why parents might be worried about the prospect of their children coming into contact with bugs as schools are reopening and potentially missing out on more of their education.”
“Continuing the good habits we have picked up over the last year, such as regularly washing our hands will go a long way to unnecessarily spreading harmful germs.”
“At Well, we believe community pharmacy can support the health of the whole family – we are here to help you find the right treatments so you can get well soon. From recommendations on essential products such as multivitamins to help strengthen your immune system, to providing more information on private services such as the chickenpox vaccination service, our trained pharmacy teams are here to offer support at times that are most convenient to you.”
For more information on Well’s chickenpox vaccination service, please visit: https://www.well.co.uk/vaccinations/chickenpox-vaccination-service
Well Pharmacy has created a helpful list of some of the most common childhood illnesses, here is expert advice from Well’s Pharmacist, Alex Zahorodnyj:
Headlice - Look out for early signs of scratching, however treatment should only be carried out once a live louse is found - be careful treating children with asthma or those with sensitive skin, only use water-based liquids. Make sure you check all family members.
Chickenpox - There is no cure for the virus but you can help alleviate symptoms by using an antihistamine alongside calamine lotion (or aqueous and calamine for less mess) to sooth the itch. Contact your GP if a child is under 4 weeks old, has breathing difficulties or has blisters which look yellow or pus filled.
Scabies - As the scabies mites are nocturnal the rash worsens at night, be aware of a rash around the wrists and fingers that look like burrow marks. Ensure the whole family is treated and be aware that itching can continue for up to two weeks after treatment.
Hand, foot and mouth - Ulcers on the tongue, raised spots or blisters on the hands and feet could be a sign of the disease. Whilst there is no cure it usually gets better after 7-10 days. Ensure fluids are kept up and paracetamol can be taken to ease a sore throat or mouth.
Slapped cheek - Slapped cheek is hard to prevent as the virus is passed on before the rash appears. Common symptoms include a rash on one or both cheeks followed by a red spotty rash on the chest arms and legs a few days later. There is usually no need to visit a GP unless you have a weakened immune system or have a blood disorder.
Scarlet fever - Don't ignore flu like symptoms and a high temperature. A sore throat and swollen glands followed by a rash a few days later is an indicator of scarlet fever. Whilst this is no longer life threatening it must be treated with antibiotics early to prevent complication.
*Research of 2,000 parents of children aged 4-12 was conducted by Atomik Research. The research fieldwork took place on 26th February – 1st March 2021. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.