Back to school, back to the doctor? Health concerns when schools starts

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Indianapolis, Ind. (August 11, 2015)- You send your child off to school in the morning with the usual supplies, but your son or daughter might come home at the end of the day with something extra.

It’s common to catch a bug when classes resume after summer break and it can spread to the entire family.

The Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Peyton Manning Children’s Hopsital says within two weeks of school starting, the first round of viruses comes along.

“Colds and runny nose, stuffy nose, coughs, sore throats are all very common these first couple weeks of school,” said Dr. Christopher Belcher.

“Especially for parents, their very first year their kid goes to school or preschool or even daycare, it’s a rough year and you can really expect a new virus every two weeks,” said Dr. Belcher. “Sometimes there’s really two or three weeks of illness, they seem better for five to seven days, and then they’re on to the next one. For most kids that’s normal, as long as it’s mild disease.”

Another condition that often creeps up at the start of the school year is head lice.

“Head lice are a very common problem. And it’s not that they go away in summer, they’re probably just not recognized as much. The kids are separated. They have it, but then when they return to school people start looking, people start itching, so head lice tends to pop up every school year and then gets worse as we get on into the winter.”

“We feel that hand-washing and the use of instant alcohol sanitizers has helped quite a bit, so we want to keep up the basic hygiene,” said Dr. Belcher. “Teach your kid good hygiene, things like coughing into a tissue or the elbow or the shoulder is the way to go rather than coughing into the hands and touching the environment.”

Dr. Belcher says if your child has a fever, keep them home from school.

“Keeping your kids up-to-date with vaccines is important. They still have pertussis around. We’ve seen cases over the summer and those would only be expected to get worse as kids start congregating together in school. So keep your kids up-to-date with the whooping cough vaccine, the influenza vaccine, the meningitis vaccine, all of it.”

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