Head lice

Updated 15 July 2016

5 diseases your child can pick up at school

School is a place for learning, but it also creates the perfect environment for an infectious disease to spread like wildfire.

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After the winter holidays it’s time for millions of children to go back to school. And while they're learning and taking part in sports, they'll also be facing the risk of catching an infectious disease.

Here are 5 of the most common diseases, as well as an image to identify each one:

Read: Health checks crucial for school-aged kids

Lice

Head lice are tiny insects that feed on blood from the scalp. They are about the size of a sesame seed and are easily spotted, although they hide when exposed to light. If your child complains of an itchy head, there’s a good change they might have picked lice up at school. Lice can't jump or fly, but crawl from head to head. Activities such as putting heads together to share secrets, and playing games or sport increase the child's risk.

suffering from lice

iStock

Read: How to comb out head lice

Chicken pox

Chicken pox is highly contagious, but luckily you will soon notice if your child has the disease. It usually starts with a sudden fever and random small spots and blisters. It spreads through saliva and blisters on the skin and outbreaks are more common in winter and early spring.

child with chicken pox

iStock

Pinworms

Your child can become infected with pinworms by unintentionally ingesting (or inhaling) their eggs. Pinworms infest the intestines and lay eggs around the anus. A strong itching of the anal area, a rash around the anus and the presence of pinworm or pinworm stool around your child’s anus are symptoms of the disease.

pinworm

Google Images (Wikipedia)

Read: Worms in humans: slideshow

Conjunctivitis

Better known as “pink eye”, conjunctivitis is a disease that causes an inflammation or infection of the membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the eyelid. An itchy, red and irritated eye is usually a sign of its presence, and children often wake up with the eye sealed shut with a yellow crust. It’s highly contagious and is spread through hand to eye contact. Any school sport, physical activity or even just touching carry the risk of contracting conjunctivitis.

person with pink eye

iStock

Strep throat

Strep throat is caused by infection with the streptococcal bacterium and causes inflammation and swelling at the back of the throat and tonsils. A cough or congestion is usually not present. It is a common among children in close contact with each other and can be dangerous if left untreated.

person with strep throat

Google Images (Wikipedia)

Read more:

Home remedies for head lice

'Kids' diseases' now hitting adults

5 myths you probably believe about tonsillitis