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Infectious Childhood Illnesses

Illness  Incubation period / nursery exclusion period    Symptoms    Care
Conjunctivitis 
 
2-5 days (Variable - dependant on eyes clearing) Red, itchy, watery eyes, irritation of the eye area, sticky, yellowy/white discharge and swollen eyelids. Consult doctor, eye drops might be given. Wash eye with tepid (lukewarm) water; use a clean piece of cotton wool each time.
Chickenpox 
 
7-16 days (once all spots have dried up) Spots on chest and back, red at first, becoming blisters, then forming a dry scab.  The spots can come in successive crops and can be very itch.  Consult your doctor, discourage scratching and ease the itching by keeping your child cool and apply lotion such as calamine.
Croup 
     
3-5 days Begins with a cold, stuffy, runny nose, and a mild fever. A `barking¿ cough will emerge along with a hoarse voice. Child may have difficulty breathing and it might be painful. Symptoms worsen at night. Consult doctor. Keep child calm, give plenty of fluids. Warm, moist air can help the breathing sit your child in a steamy bathroom or place a damp towel near a radiator for moisture 
Diphtheria  2-6 days  Difficulty in breathing. White membrane forms in the throat  Medical aid needed.
Diarrhoea 
  
2-7 days (until motions normal) Loose, frequent, watery stools. Give plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration. Consult a doctor if your child is a baby or if the symptoms persist.

Ear infections

2-7 days (extended if ear still weeping) Pain, discharge from ear, and high temperature.  Consult your doctor as antibiotics and pain relief may be prescribed.
Gastro-enteritis 2-14 days  Severe and persistent vomiting and diarrhoea  Consult your doctor,  give plenty of fluids
Hand, foot & mouth 
 
3 - 6 days (extended if existing ulcers) Early symptoms - fever, loss of appetite, and sore throat. After 12-26hrs yellowy ulcers develop on the roof of the mouth, tongue and cheeks. After a day sores on palm of hand, soles of feet and between toes/fingers. These are itchy and uncomfortable  Consult doctor. No treatment for this illness. Keep giving plenty of water. 
Head lice 
 
Return after treatment.(further treatment may be required) Presence of head lice, itching of the scalp.
Detecting them: - check the base of the hair for eggs and around the ears. Treat at home by using a wet comb with conditioner or medicated lotions (ask for advice when using on young babies).  Special nit comb available from pharmacies.

Impetigo  Antibiotics

Until lesions are crusted or healed  Skin reddens and crops of small blisters appear when the blisters burst they leave raw moist sores that gradually enlarge. Consult doctor
 
Measles 
 7-14 days  Raised temperature, sore eyes, spots in the mouth, red blotchy rash that quickly spreads over the body  Consult your doctor
Meningitis   7 ¿ 14 days   High temperature, headache, vomiting, rash, pain and stiffness of the neck, and sensitivity to light  Consult your doctor
 Mumps    14-21 days  Pain, tenderness and swelling around the jaw and ear, usually on one side of the face and then the other. Consult your doctor
 
Rotavirus  
3-8 days  Vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, it may cause a fever and convulsions. Consult your doctor, frequent sips of water; give foods high in carbohydrates and soups. If breast or bottle feeding continue to feed as normal.
Scarlet fever  2-6 days  Red tongue, sore throat, rash on face and body  Consult doctor, antibiotics may be given
Sickness   2-7 days  Difficulty in keeping down solids or liquids Give small amount of fluid -even if still vomiting as this will stop your child becoming dehydrated. Consult doctor if the sickness is very severe.
Thrush   Variable (thrush needs to be cleared) White patches in the mouth, usually on the tongue and inside the cheeks. A baby may have a sore bottom too.  Consult the doctor. Check that all the equipment, which the child has been in contact with is sterilised.
Whooping cough   7-14 days  Long bouts of coughing and choking, difficulty in breathing during the coughing, whooping noise as the child draws in a breath. Vomiting during coughing bouts. Consult doctor. Support during coughing bouts and give reassurance.