Common Illnesses

From 31st January 2024, the NHS Pharmacy First initiative means that your pharmacist may now be able to prescribe medication where appropriate for common childhood illnesses such as earache, sore throat, impetigo and infected insect bites.

It is important that parents are aware of common childhood illnesses in school, so please use the links below to familiarise yourself with symptoms, treatment and any necessary absence from school. Each heading links to further details on the NHS website.

Illness absence must be reported daily by calling 01245 420963 or emailing, unless the School Office has specified a required period of isolation with an agreed date of return.

Chickenpox – children should stay at home until all chickenpox blisters have scabbed over. This normally takes 5-7 days in our experience.

Conjunctivitis – please see your local pharmacist for advice and treatment. Children can normally come to school while they have conjunctivitis.

Covid-19 – you are no longer required to do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test if you have symptoms. Children can return to school when they have no temperature and feel well.

Headlice – please check your child’s hair regularly for nits and lice, treating immediately where necessary. As soon as your child has been treated they can return to school. We are not allowed to check children’s hair in school, but if we do happen to see lice or nits we will ask you to come and collect your child for treatment.

Impetigo – please speak to your pharmacist and follow their instructions regarding antibiotics and any exclusion from school (normally 24-48 hrs) while the antibiotics start to work.

Scarlet fever – please speak to your GP and stay away from school for 24 hours after the first dose of antibiotics.

Strep A – please speak to your GP and stay away from school for 24 hours after the first dose of antibiotics.

Sickness/diarrhoea – children must be kept at home for 48 hours after the last instance of either sickness (vomiting) or diarrhoea, to prevent the spread of any bugs in school.

Threadworms – please be alert to the symptoms (normally itching at night) and treat immediately where necessary. It is normally recommended that the whole household is treated at the same time. You do not need to keep your child at home if they have threadworms.

The NHS also offers guidance for parents on when to keep your child at home from school:

NHS Mid-Essex Clinical Commissioning Group’s A Parent’s Guide to Common Childhood Illnesses and Wellbeing is an extensive and informative handbook for anyone who cares for a child aged from birth to 11 years old. It gives advice on how to spot signs of illness and what to do for minor conditions such as coughs and colds, fever, dry skin and rashes, chickenpox, bumps and bruises. Information on mental health and wellbeing, healthy lifestyles and advice on some more serious conditions like meningitis and sepsis is covered in the booklet. There’s also a handy section on when you should keep your child home from school.