10 Gross but Common Infectious Diseases
No one told me I needed a nursing degree to raise my kids. If it isn’t one ailment it’s a full-blown stomach bug. Kids are basically a viral breeding ground and however much hand sanitizer you apply some of these delightful conditions will come your way.
Many of them are pretty infectious as well so get ready for your kid to be barred from attending childcare and their grandparents making a whole range of reasonable excuses as to why it is better they don’t come help.
1 - Impetigo is top of my list because it is doing the rounds here in my home town.
If this is going around, avoid. Don’t be conned, treat other kids with this condition with caution. Impetigo is super infectious. Between four and ten days after your kid has caught it they’ll present with fluid-filled blisters, yellow scabs and small red pimples. You need to go to the GP and get antibiotics and hope the whole family doesn’t get it. You and your child are infectious until all the blisters have crusted up or antibiotic course is finished.
Apparently, you have to actually have direct contact with either the lesions on another blighted child or contaminated objects. This one (like most of them) is spread by poor hygiene, dirty changing tables, shared toys, poor handwashing. You have been warned!
2 - Slapped Cheek which is sometimes called Fifth Disease
Your kid may have been whinging they haven’t been feeling well, achy joints, cold symptoms and then boom a red slapped cheek rash! It takes any time from 4 – 21 days to come out and quite honestly isn’t that bad normally. If you have pregnant friends though, let them know and stay away from them. Slapped Cheek in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage.
3 - Hand, Foot and Mouth
High temperature, feeling unwell, sores on their tongue and little grey blisters on their hands or feet or both. Your darling son or daughter is infectious for 2 weeks. Most nurseries don’t ask you to exclued for this mainly because you are infectious before you have any symptoms so all the little horrors probably have it before you’ve noticed anything wrong. If I haven’t seen you for a few weeks though give me the option of saying no to a play date as Hand, Foot and Mouth can be quite painful for adults that catch it.
4 - Conjunctivitis Or Pink Eye
You are infectious while your child has what looks like crusty green/yellow snot in their eye balls (bacterial) or pink swollen eyes and light sensitive (viral). See your pharmacist who can advise you and you can clean eyes with cooled boiled water and cotton wool, use one per eye. To stop it spreading round the family you need to wash your and your child’s hands frequently.
5 - Ringworm
A red scaly ring shaped rash. Not nice but again only really needs a trip to your pharmacist for an anti-fungal cream. You are going to need to stay clear of other kids until treatment is underway and the rash is healing up. Most importantly and to our great relief remember ringworm is not caused by worms...
Which leads me on to...
6 - Worms
My neighbours daughter had these while she was potty training and they could literally see them wiggling. More likely your child will be complaining about an itchy bum, especially in the evening or at night. Gross but true, worms are spread by poo. 1-2 months after eating a thread worm egg the adult worm reaches your child’s anus. Your pharmacist can sell you a treatment, everyone in the house needs to take it and you need to wash everything. Thread worm eggs can survive for weeks in your home. Make handwashing a priority if you want to miss out on this treat.
7 - Roseola
Roseola is a pinkish red spotty rash. It can cover a lot of a young child’s body and should ‘disappear’ when you roll a glass over it.
But here is the thing.
Rashes are the scariest, because we all think the worst – that it could be meningitis. Remember no Doctor is ever going to tell you off for bringing your kid in with a common childhood rash if you are worried. They’ll just be happy to send you home with a healthy child. Don’t worry about feeling like an idiot. if you want to have it checked out take your kid to your pharmacist or GP. Better safe than sorry.
8- Cold sores
These are spread by open sores or saliva. If you suffer from cold sores be aware of not kissing your child when you have a sore. A Cold Sore is actually Herpes Simplex and it is a virus that stays in your body your whole life and flares up occasionally. The best advice I can gice you is if your Great Auntie Sue wants to kiss your baby and you suspect a cold sore ask her to back off. A pharmacist again can help with a cream or if your child is over 12 months honey can work well too. If they keep coming back take your kid to see the GP
9 - Warts and Verrucas
Do you remember... from being a kid? Warts aren’t actually harmful, although they look gross and your child might find them itchy. Verrucas can be painful to walk on. Both are spread by a virus and you can transmit them. Interestingly you do build up an immunity over time... and as most of the treatments are expensive and don't work well there is an argument for letting time be the healer.
10 - Scabies
It sounds positively medieval but yes Scabies is a thing. It isn’t serious but does need to be treated. Mites lay eggs under your kids skin and a rash with red spots will spread. You can get a body cream which needs to be applied all over, to every member of your household whether you have symptoms or not and you need to do it again a week later.