Head colds and head lice: a heads-up on autumn ailments
When the weather gets cold and damp, children are more susceptible to bugs, bumps and creepy-crawlies
With autumn comes the start of the new sports season, and a greater chance of getting a belt of a hurley or a hockey stick, or a kick from a stray boot. “You’ll get more impact injuries around this time of the year, from playing rugby, hurling and football,” says McWade. The advice? Make sure your child wears all the required protective gear for the sport they’re participating in, such as helmets, gumshields and shinguards. You could sign your child up for tiddlywinks, but who’s to say they won’t get hit in the eye by a misflicked counter?
Warts and v
Verrucas are still out there, says
McWade, and the swimming pool is still the place where they lurk. As children sign up for autumn swimming lessons, their chances of catching a verucca are increased.
Don’t put away the Crocs or flip-flops they wore during the summer, as they’ll be perfect for wearing around the pool area. Nor should you allow children to share towels.
Veruccas are simply warts that occur on the soles of the feet; they look flat because they’re pressed down by the foot, but they can feel uncomfortable. You can burn them off with a solution of salicylic acid, but the best way to clear up warts and veruccas, if they’re not bothering your children, is simply to leave them alone: 30 per cent will fall off within 10 weeks, while most will fall off within a year or two.
Ear infections are not contagious, since they’re bacterial and not viral. The bad news is that children, especially preschoolers, are very susceptible to them.
Ear infections are caused by inflammation of the middle ear following a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum.
They often occur after a child has had a cold or a sore throat, so after your child’s cold has cleared up, you may not be home and dry yet. A course of antibiotics, usually Amoxycillin, will be prescribed to clear up the infection, and a children’s paracetamol or ibuprofen should keep down any pain or discomfort.
So follow a few sensible steps, don’t panic, and your children should get through the winter without too many sick days.
You need to ensure that your children’s vaccinations are up to date. Your child should have their second dose of the MMR vaccine when starting school, and they also need to get the four-in-one vaccine that protects them from diphtheria, tetanus, polio and whooping cough. Public health staff will visit the school to administer the vaccines, but if your child happens to be out of school on that day, you can still get your child vaccinated through your GP.
It’s part of the Government’s child vaccination programme, so it’s free no matter which way you get it.
It’s important that every child is vaccinated, says McWade, because the consequences of not being immunised can be catastrophic. Last year, two babies died of whooping cough in Ireland; they caught the virus from adults who hadn’t been immunised.
Availing of vaccination programmes is vital for “herd immunisation”, says McWade. “Some children can’t be vaccinated because of an underlying health issue, but if a high enough percentage of the population is vaccinated, it’s beneficial to those who can’t be vaccinated. They’re protected by the herd.”