COMMON ILLNESSES

  • Influenza
    
Influenza is a common upper respiratory disease. It is not what is commonly referred to as "stomach flu," which causes vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms including fever, chills, coughing, headache, fatigue, sore throat and muscle aches. The symptoms are much more severe than with a common cold.


    Call the doctor if you or your child has a persistent high fever, fever with a rash, trouble breathing or rapid breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, seem very sleepy or lethargic, seem confused, and have flu symptoms that get better but then get worse.
 Stay home from school or work when you are ill. Students can return to school 24 hours after their fever is gone without fever-reducing medication and are feeling well enough to participate in school. Flu symptoms may last 5 to 7 days.

    Reference the Flu and Colds page to learn more about the symptoms you are experiencing. 


    
Stomach Flu
    Stomach flu (not influenza which is a respiratory illness) is a gastrointestinal illness. Students have stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhea, slight fevers and fatigue. Students should stay home for at least 24 hours after the symptoms have stopped.
Stomach flu is spread easily from person to person, so it is important to stay home while sick. It lasts anywhere from 1 to 2 days depending on the individual and the severity of the symptoms. If it lasts longer than that and you are concerned about your child's health, contact your health care provider.
Prevent the stomach flu by washing your hands frequently as it is spread by touching contaminated items. Prevent dehydration by offering small amounts of liquids frequently. Offer nutritious bland foods when vomiting or diarrhea has stopped and slowly work up to regular foods. 



    Strep Throat
    Strep throat can start suddenly with fever, red sore throat and swollen glands. In some children and adults, headache, nausea, stomach ache, and vomiting may be more common. A fine raised rash could also occur. It is contagious, and students need to stay home for 12 hours after treatment has begun and they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. Antibiotics are given to treat strep throat.



    Head Lice
    Students who have lice are strongly recommended to be treated before returning to school or daycare. Head lice are very small brownish-colored insects that live on the head. They lay their eggs (nits) close to the scalp. The eggs are gray or white in color. They are stuck to the hair like glue. Anyone can get head lice.


    The symptoms of head lice are:

    • 
itching of the head and neck
    • Look for: crawling lice in the hair or the eggs that are glued to the hair (often found behind the ears and at the back of the neck)

    
Lice are spread by direct head-to-head contact with the hair of an infested person. They can't jump or fly. They crawl and can fall off the head. Head lice do not live longer than 48 hours off the head. Eggs do not hatch if they fall off the head. Head lice feet are specially adapted for holding onto human hair. They would have difficulty attaching to smooth or slippery surfaces like plastic, metal, and similar materials.

    
If you find head lice in your child's hair, call your child's school and daycare to inform them. Treat your child for head lice using the product/method of your choice. Remove eggs (nits) daily. It takes at least 2 weeks to get rid of lice. If all nits within 1/2 inch of the scalp are not removed, some may hatch and your child will be infested again. Parents should check their children's hair weekly for head lice. Catching it early helps prevent the spread of lice to others.


    Lice Links >
    Myths and Facts of Head Lice
    What Do Nits and Lice Look Like?
    Minnesota Department of Health
    Mayo Clinic