Many of your little ones will be starting back to school in the next couple of weeks. Transitioning from the summer holidays to a new school year can be difficult for children and parents as little ones may struggle getting back into a routine and the classroom environment.
Classrooms can also cause infections such as fever or head lice to spread easily from child to child. Our expert advice from our pharmacists will help you make the transition that bit smoother and advise how to get your little one back to normal health.
Head lice or nits are tiny insects that live on the scalp that feed on blood, causing itching. They are most common in children aged 3 to 11. Lice aren’t anything to be worried about, but can cause your child distress. Head lice can spread from child to child with direct contact with the hair of a child who has head lice. Lice can also spread on hats, hair brushes and sometimes bedding, however they cannot jump or fly from one person to another. They aren’t caused by the personal hygiene or cleanliness of the home or school.
How to spot head lice
Lice or nits can be white, dark grey or brown, sesame seed sized insects that are usually spotted in the hair at the back of the neck or behind the ears. Lice eggs, called nits, can be missed as they are glued onto hairs near the scalp
Everyone with head lice in a household should be treated on the same day.
How to get rid of head lice
Lice and nits will not go away on their own, so it’s important to seek the right treatment. You should notify your child’s nursery or school so their classmates can be checked. TOP TIP: Parents or carers should check their hair too!
The most common and effective methods to remove nits are;
- Lotions and sprays are applied to the scalp and hair to kill the head lice
- Special fine toothed combs are used on wet hair to draw the lice and nits out of the hair
Your local pharmacist can advise you about the treatments available if you’re not sure which is best for you or your child.
If your child feels hotter than normal, take their temperature. If it is over 38°C, it is likely that your child has a fever. Fever is often normal and gets better by itself. Fevers are usually an indication of an underlying infection and it is a natural response to help the body fight that infection.
How to treat children’s fever
To care for your child, follow these simple steps:
- Do not over or under dress your child. Clothe them in loose fitting clothes that will allow them to keep cool
- Turn down the central heating to keep them cool in the winter or open windows or doors in the summer to keep their environment cool
- Keep your child hydrated by offering drinks regularly. If you are breastfeeding, offer as many feeds as your little one will take.
- Make sure your child rests – this may mean keeping them from nursery or school
If your child is still unwell, they may take paracetamol and/or ibuprofen. Always check the dosage is suitable for your child or take to your local pharmacist for advice on the correct strength and dosage
Cuts, grazes and bumps
Your little ones will experience a few cuts and bumps while playing in the school playground or at home.
How to treat cuts and grazes
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly
- Clean the wound under drinking-quality running tap water – avoid using antiseptic as it may damage the skin and slow healing
- Pat the area dry with a clean towel
- Apply a sterile adhesive dressing, such as a plaster
How to look after a bump
Little ones can be clumsy, simply tripping over or banging heads with another child can cause a bump to appear on their sensitive heads. If your child does experience a knock, bump or blow to the head, follow these steps;
- Sit them down and comfort them
- You can apply a cold compress to the head. A bag of ice or frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.
- Make sure they get plenty of rest
You child may complain of a mild headache, feeling sick, dizziness or blurred vision. If these symptoms continue or get worse, take your child to A&E.
Did you know we offer a minor ailments service at participating LloydsPharmacy’s?
Our minor ailments service means you can speak to a pharmacist about your child’s symptoms with key benefits such as no appointment necessary, limited waiting times, self-care advice and ongoing support if required.
The minor ailments and injuries that you can access for your little ones include:
– Children’s fever
– Eye infections
– Head lice
– Itchy skin
– Nasal congestion
– Cold and flu