Whether it’s in the classroom or even at daycare after school, your child is exposed to many illnesses being around other children. While it’s impossible to keep your child from being exposed, there are things you can do to ensure he or she remains healthy and at a lower risk of catching the illness-of-the-week. Below are the most contagious classroom illnesses and what you can do to keep your child healthy.

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1. The Common Cold

The common cold is just that: common. In fact, children catch as many as eight colds each year. This makes colds one of the top reasons children visit the doctor and miss school each year.


Symptoms Of A Cold

Sniffles, sneezes and possibly a sore throat are all signs that your child, or someone in their classroom, is suffering from a cold. If your child has a cold, he or she may also have a mild fever, feel fatigued, suffer muscles aches and experience a loss of appetite.


How To Treat A Cold

Most of the time, a cold will clear up on its own with no medical treatment needed. Unfortunately, medication can’t help cure a cold. It can, however, help alleviate symptoms. If your child is suffering from a cold, give him or her acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help relieve muscle aches, headache and fever.


2. Sore Throat

It’s referred to as a sore throat, strep throat and even tonsillitis, but it all refers to the same thing: an illness for your child. The most common cause of a sore throat for children is a viral infection, with most children suffering from a sore throat also experiencing a cold at the same time. 


Symptoms Of A Sore Throat

If your child is suffering from a sore throat, he or she will experience pain in the throat often accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: fever, swollen glands in the neck, bad breath, redness in the back of the mouth and scratchiness in the throat.


How To Treat A Sore Throat

The treatment of your child’s sore throat depends on the diagnosis. Antibiotics will do no good for a common sore throat; however, if your child has strep throat, a doctor will likely prescribe one. If your child’s sore throat lasts more than a few days, it’s important you seek medical attention so a proper diagnosis can be made.


3. Cough

It’s important to note that a cough is a symptom, not a disease. Because young children should generally steer clear of over-the-counter cough medication, a cough is easily spread and not easy to treat.


Symptoms Of A Cough

Alongside coughing, your child may also have a runny nose, blocked nose and difficulty sleeping. Depending on the cause of the cough, your child may also experience frequent sneezing, sinus press and ear pain.


How To Treat A Cough

Believe it or not, treatment is not always needed for a cough. If your child’s symptoms aren’t bothering him or her, they may not even need medication. If symptoms cause discomfort or keep your child from sleeping, you may want to give them warm, clear fluids to help with a scratchy throat.

In addition to the standard steps to prevent getting sick, your child should also stay away from secondhand smoke as much as possible. It is also a good idea for your child to get a flu shot each year.


4. Vomiting

Much like coughing, vomiting is symptomatic of an illness or disease. Someone who is nauseous, for a number of reasons, often has the sensation that they are going to vomit. If your child is feeling nauseous, vomiting may bring him or her relief.


Symptoms Of Vomiting

In addition to the obvious (vomiting), your child may also feel pain in the abdomen, have diarrhea and a fever and feel lightheaded. In some cases, children will also experience vertigo, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, dry mouth and a decrease in urination.


How To Treat Vomiting

While vomiting will usually go away without medication, it’s still a miserable illness for your child to catch and can even result in dehydration. If your child is vomiting, be sure he or she is well hydrated.

You may need to modify your child’s diet if he or she is feeling nauseous. For the first 24 hours of the illness, try to avoid giving your child solid foods. Instead, encourage your child to suck or drink small amounts of liquids. These may include an electrolyte solution (ask a doctor which is best), water and even popsicles.


5. Diarrhea

Most everyone will suffer from diarrhea at some point in his or her life. Typically diarrhea will last a couple days; however, in some cases it can last up to a few weeks. Diarrhea can be an indication of a serious disorder like an infection or something less serious such as irritable bowel syndrome.


Symptoms Of Diarrhea

If your child is suffering from diarrhea, he or she will experience loose, water stools accompanied by abdominal cramps and occasional pain. It’s not uncommon for a child to be nauseous, bloat, have a fever and even notice blood in their stool.


How To Treat Diarrhea

If your child suffers from diarrhea, it’s essential that you monitor for signs of dehydration. When experiencing diarrhea, children may need special fluids like an electrolyte solution to help replace water and salts that have been lost.

Most children can continue to eat a normal diet when experiencing this illness, although you may want to give him or her smaller amounts of food than normal so you don’t disrupt his or her stomach.


How To Keep Your Child From Getting Sick

If your child is exposed to an illness in the classroom, there are a few ways to help your child reduce their risk. Teach your child to never eat or drink after another child and to always wash his or her hands before eating. If you believe your child is ill, keep them at home to minimize the risk of other children getting sick, as well.

If your child needs quick care for a minor illness, Medical City Children’s Urgent Care is here for you 7 days a week.

Our pediatricians are board certified and will treat your child with the utmost care – even after hours and on the weekends.

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Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.