The Sars-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19, has dramatically changed how we interact with our environment. This pandemic has put an emphasis on how we distance ourselves in social spaces and how we take care of our personal hygiene. Effective handwashing techniques, hand sanitizers, and disinfectant wipes are around every corner, in the hopes of countering this highly contagious virus and enabling our communities to return to a level of normalcy in the near future. As we enter the spring season, the break of winter, and the return to regular gatherings, we mustn’t forget the other, highly contagious illness and their symptoms children are likely to encounter.
As a parent, we always look to protect our children from all illnesses and harms, and with the COVID-19 pandemic rightfully at the forefront of our thoughts, we must not overlook other illnesses our children may pick up as they return to in-person learning. Children do not yet have a fully formed immune system and in turn, tend to get sick more often. Coupled with the right treatment and rest, bouts of sickness with a disease (one of which may be listed below) will enable a child’s immune system to adapt and become stronger in the future, empowering their little bodies with the genetic knowledge on how to fight those same viruses and bacteria were they to encounter them again!
As a first time parent, we are even more cautious when it comes to our children getting sick, and in the wake of this pandemic, it is important to have the knowledge and skills to differentiate the signs and symptoms of what may be COVID-19 or what may be another common illness among school-aged children. With the help of this guide, parents should feel more empowered and prepared to tackle the challenges posed by re-entering our communities and gatherings again.
The table (Table One CLICK HERE) lists seven of the most common, highly contagious, diseases among school-aged children, their methods of transmission, common signs and symptoms, as well as a fun fact about each, (yes, science can be fun!).
It is in a child’s nature to make messes, interact with their environments, and explore their world! To keep them safe from the common illnesses a child is likely to encounter through these engagements at school and interacting with friends, the following hygiene and cleanliness habits are recommended:
• Always consult with your child’s doctor to determine the best treatment and call them right away if at home treatment does not help or their symptoms worsen.
• Practice good hand washing using soap and water, washing the hands for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based cleaners and sanitizers are useful too, remind your children to keep a small bottle handy! Toss a small bottle in their school backpack or lunch bag.
• Wipe surfaces and commonly used items with disinfectant wipes or alcohol-based cleaners. These surfaces may include light switches, doorknobs, faucets, and handles among others.
• Get at least 8 hours of sleep a day, maintain a regular, healthy diet, and drink water regularly throughout the day. This will help your child’s immune system function its best!
• Keep hands away from eyes, nose and mouth to prevent bacterial and viral transmission to the mucous membranes.
• Keep your child home if they are sick or have a fever. Going to school with a fever or other active symptoms will only help the spread of infection. Stay home to do your part! ◙
About the Author Logan McIntosh
Logan McIntosh is a Research Analyst intern for Kiernan Group Holdings. She assists with data collection and analysis, primarily on domestic extremist groups. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry.
After graduation, she worked at The New Academy Charter School in Pittsburgh, PA as a Certified Pennsylvania Private High School Biology teacher to children in 9th grade. In this extremely rewarding role, she worked as a teacher/counselor to the students, many of whom were delinquent or troubled youth.
After a year at the school, she moved to Arlington, VA to complete her Master of Arts in Forensic and Legal Psychology at Marymount University. She is expected to graduate May 2021 and looks to explore a career in intelligence analysis, threat assessment and gun violence, or criminal investigations.