Should your child go to school/nursery today?

High temperature

  • Give paracetamol and plenty to drink.
  • Always consider COVID-19 given the overlapping nature of symptoms. If your child has one or more of the following common coronavirus symptoms: high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste/smell; keep your child at home, limit social contact and arrange a PCR test by clicking here or call 119 and self-isolate your child at home until test result received.
  • If your child's COVID PCR test is negative, they should still be kept off school until their fever goes away
  • If your child's high temperature continues for five days or more, seek advice.

For more information go to High Temperature/Fever.

Headache, earache and stomach ache

  • Children with headache, earache or stomach ache can go to school - just let the staff know they have felt unwell.
  • Give paracetamol and plenty of fluids to drink.
  • If headache, earache or stomach ache persist, seek advice.

For more information go to Earache and/or Tummy Ache.

Coughs and colds

  • Children should be given paracetamol, plenty of fluids to drink and can be sent to school.
  • Ensure good hand hygiene – dispose of tissues and regularly wash hand with soap and water.
  • Always consider COVID-19 given the overlapping nature of symptoms. If your child has one or more of the following common coronavirus symptoms: high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste/smell; keep your child at home, limit social contact and arrange a PCR test by clicking here or call 119 and self-isolate your child at home until test result received.
  • If your child is asthmatic, remember they may need their blue inhaler more often.

For more information go to Cough and Cold.

Flu

  • Often associated with fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose, headache, body aches, exhaustion and sore throat.
  • Ensure good hand hygiene – dispose of tissues and regularly wash hand with soap and water.
  • Always consider COVID-19 given the overlapping nature of symptoms. If your child has one or more of the following common coronavirus symptoms: high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste/smell; keep your child at home, limit social contact and arrange a PCR test by clicking here or call 119 and self-isolate your child at home until test result received.
  • Children should go back to school when recovered - this is usually about five days.
  • Vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. It is important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection. For more information on the NHS vaccination schedule for children please visit NHS vaccinations and when to have them
  • Not sure? seek advice.

For more information go to High Temperature/Fever.

Find out more about the Flu Vaccine for Children.

Sore throat, tonsillitis and glandular fever

  • Children should be given paracetamol, plenty of fluids to drink and be sent to school.
  • Glandular fever often associated with high temperature, sore throat (usually more painful than any before) and swollen glands. Child needs to be well enough to concentrate at school.

For more information go to Sore Throat.

Diarrhoea and vomiting

  • Ensure good hand hygiene.
  • Children can return to school 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.

For more information go to Diarrhoea and Vomiting.

Head lice

  • Itchy scalp (may be worse at night).
  • Children can go to school with head lice but they must be treated for the condition to prevent further spreading.
  • Parents should treat their children and other family members by wet combing with a nit comb and conditioner.

Scabies

  • Itching and rash may be all over the body but is commonly between the fingers, wrists, elbows and arms.
  • Children can go back to school after the first treatment.
  • Others at home should be treated.

Threadworm

  • Associated with intense itchiness around the bottom.
  • Children can go to school when they have started their treatment.
  • Everyone at home should be treated.

Hand, foot and mouth, warts and verrucae, athletes foot and molluscum contagiosum

  • Fever, sore throat, headache, small painful blisters inside the mouth and on tongue and gums, which may also appear on hands and feet.
  • Children can go to school.
  • Verrucae should be covered in swimming pools and changing rooms.

For more information go to Hand, foot and mouth, Warts and Verrucae, Athletes Foot, Molluscum Contagiosum.

Conjunctivitis

  • Teary, red, itchy, painful eyes.
  • Children can go to school.
  • They should be encouraged to wash their hands to prevent further spread of infection. Treatment is not usually required.

For more information go to Conjunctivitis.

Impetigo

  • Clusters of red bumps or blisters surrounded by area of redness. 
  • Children can go back to school when their lesions are crusted or healed, or two days after starting antibiotics.

For more information go to Impetigo.

Measles, Chicken Pox and German Measles

Measles

  • Associated with fever, cough, runny nose, and watery inflamed eyes. Small red spots with white or bluish white centres in the mouth, red blotchy rash. Let your GP surgery know (by telephone) if you think that your child has measles.
  • Always consider COVID-19 given the overlapping nature of symptoms. If your child has one or more of the following common coronavirus symptoms: high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste/smell; keep your child at home, limit social contact and arrange a PCR test by clicking here or call 119 and self-isolate your child at home until test result received.
  • Children should go back to school four days after the rash has started.

For more information go to Measles.

Chicken Pox

  • Rash begins as small, red flat spots that develop into itchy fluid-filled blisters.
  • Cases of chicken pox are generally infectious from 2 days before the rash appears to 5 days after the onset of the rash.
  • Although the usual exclusion period is 5 days, all lesions should be crusted over before children return to nursery or school.

For more information go to Chickenpox.

German Measles

  • Children should go back to school four days after the rash has started. Please let the school know, as pregnant members of staff may be affected.

For more information go to German Measles (Rubella).

Note: If you think that your child has measles, Mumps or German Measles (Rubella) (MMR), please let your GP surgery know as they are all notifiable diseases.

 

Vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. It is important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection. For more information on the NHS vaccination schedule for children please visit NHS vaccinations and when to have them 

Scarlet fever or strep throat

  • Severe sore throat and painful glands in neck. No runny nose or cough. Associated with sandpaper-like pink/red rash in scarlet fever. If you think that your child has scarlet fever, please contact your GP practice.
  • Children should go back to school 24 hours after starting appropriate antibiotic treatment.

For more information go to Scarlet Fever or Strep.

Mumps

  • Painful swellings in the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), headaches, joint pain, high temperature. Let your GP surgery know (by telephone) if you think that your child has measles.
  • Always consider COVID-19 given the overlapping nature of symptoms. If your child has one or more of the following common coronavirus symptoms: high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste/smell; keep your child at home, limit social contact and arrange a PCR test by clicking here or call 119 and self-isolate your child at home until test result received.
  • Children should go back to school five days from the start of swollen glands.
  • Vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. It is important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection. For more information on the NHS vaccination schedule for children please visit NHS vaccinations and when to have them

For more information go to Mumps.

Whooping cough

  • Children should go back to school five days after starting antibiotics. Non-infectious coughing may continue for many weeks.
  • Vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. It is important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection. For more information on the NHS vaccination schedule for children please visit NHS vaccinations and when to have them

For more information go to Whooping Cough.

What else do I need to know?

Medicines in school

  • Children can come to school even if they are taking medicines, as staff are able to give them prescribed medicine in school.
  • Please make sure the bottle has a pharmacy label detailing your child's name, dosage and how frequently they should have it.
  • Please discuss with the headteacher.

School nurse drop-in session

  • Your school nurse is available to meet with you in school. Please ask reception for the school nurse's contact details.

Further advice

  • You can also contact NHS 111 or see your local pharmacist for help and advice. In some areas there is a new minor ailment service available (check with your GP for details) called Pharmacy First. If your child has certain minor ailments or conditions you may be eligible for the 'Pharmacy First' service which enables those who get free prescriptions to go straight to their pharmacist for a consultation, instead of going to their GP for a prescription.
  • Vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. It is important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection. For more information on the NHS vaccination schedule for children, click here.
  • Caution needs to be taken with children who are more susceptible to severe infection due to an underlying long term medical condition or being immunocompromised. These children are more likely to require medical review when unwell and are less likely to be able to attend school/nursery.

Over the counter medications

If your child's school or nursery says that they are unable to give any medication without a prescription, this is incorrect. Over the counter medications, such as hay fever treatment or simple pain relief may be given as long as dosing instructions are clearly written on the medication. Your pharmacist will label your medication appropriately if you ask them to. Please do not make a GP appointment to obtain over the counter medications with a prescription, you will be advised to get this from the pharmacy directly.

Information in this guide is taken from the Public Health England guidelines “Health protection in schools and other childcare facilities: A practical guide for staff on managing cases of infectious diseases in schools and other childcare settings.

For more information, click here.

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