WORDS BY HITESH DODHIA, Superintendent Pharmacist
It’s that time of year again and parents across the country are bracing themselves for a return to school runs, packed lunches and snotty noses. Come September, British parents routinely shell out vast sums of money to purchase new school uniforms, shiny stationery sets and the flashiest school shoes hoping to ensure maximum ware and avoid any unwanted playground embarrassment.
However, whilst many parents ensure that their kids are prepared for a nationwide bendy ruler shortage, how many of them remember to prepare adequately for the one of the biggest problems associated with the new school year? That is, the range of unwanted illnesses, ailments and medical conditions that become far more prevalent in schools when September comes back around.
When the summer holidays are over and kids are thrust back into buildings with hundreds or even thousands of classmates, there is an increased risk of them coming down with a number of medical issues – including outbreaks of head lice, colds and flu. Add to this the risk of allergies and the rough and tumble of the playground, and these problems should really give food for thought as parents prepare for the year ahead.
Take head lice as an example. The return to school brings children back into contact with dozens of other kids in a very close proximity. Head lice, small wingless insects that jump from scalp-to-scalp when two heads touch, thrive in such an environment, so dads and mums must ensure they keep a keen eye out for the tell-tale symptoms. These include itchy scalps and small black specks either in their child’s hair or on their clothes or pillow. If the unwanted pests are spotted, swift action in the form of a shampoo or gel is essential.
Unexpected medical problems also have a huge bearing on school performance, contributing both to days lost in the classroom and causing millions of pupils across the country considerable difficulty in concentrating. The most common illnesses leading to school absence are the common cold, sore throat, stomach bugs, ear infection and conjunctivitis – for which many suitable treatments exist in your local pharmacy.
What’s more, with kids coming into regular close contact and spending time together outdoors at break time and in P.E. as school is back in session, irritating health problems such as eczema, hay fever, cuts and scrapes risk disrupting a child’s happy school life. Making sure you have a suitably stocked medical cabinet will help combat these medical problems and prevent issues worsening or spreading.
So if parents are preparing for a last-minute dash to buy pens, pencils and rubbers, be sure to consider health-related products to protect children and yourselves from unwanted risks that the return to the classroom can bring.