11 January 2017

7 'back to school' health tips

When is your child too sick to go to school? And what do you do when they come home with lice? We take a look at seven popular back to school articles.


It's back to school time and in between getting the right stationary and making sure your child is ready for a new year, parents often forget about the health issues children face.

We take a look at seven relevant health articles:

1. Coughs – when to keep kids home from school

If your child is coughing or has another infection you may be unsure how sick they really are and whether or not they are contagious. Trying to determine whether to keep a child home from school due to illness can be difficult for parents, but a paediatrician offers some advice on how to make that call.

back to shcool, child health

2. Beyond Ritalin for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex syndrome believed to affect between 8% and 12% of school-aged children worldwide. However, there's a school of thought – well argued by psychologist Richard DeGrandpre, author of Ritalin Nation – that the condition is over-diagnosed. And the current gold standard drug in terms of treatment – Ritalin (methylphenidate) – is controversial.

back to shcool, child health

3. Kids may not be faking ailments to skip school

It's only a matter of time before parents have to deal with a child who doesn't feel well enough to go to school. There are many factors that can cause headaches in school kids, and if they complain about a headache, they probably aren't faking.

back to shcool, child health

4. Hair-raising facts about lice

Revulsion and alarm. These are the typical first reactions of parents whose children come home from school with head lice. But experts say parents shouldn't let panic upend their home needlessly as they race about trying to rid their kids – and possibly themselves – of the sesame seed-sized parasites.

back to shcool, child health

5. Concussion in school rugby: new study evaluates risks

A new study by researchers from the South African Rugby Union and the University of Cape Town shows that while South African school rugby players suffer concussions more often than their professional counterparts, the rate of incidence of such sports injuries is similar to that observed in other countries.

back to shcool, child health

6. Headaches in children and adolescents

Children’s headaches rarely indicate a serious problem. Emotional tension is the most common cause of headaches during childhood and adolescence. Stress may result if a child feels excessive pressure to participate in or excel at home or school activities. Tension headaches are common in teenagers and are generally caused by stress related to school performance and peer relationships.

back to shcool, child health

7. 'Choking game' tied to suicidal thoughts in teens

The "choking game" is the practice of applying strong pressure against the carotid arteries lining either side of the neck. About four percent of US teens surveyed admit to trying the "choking game" – a potentially deadly game.

back to shcool, child health

Read more:

How colds and flu can trigger a stroke in your child

When ringworm causes hair loss in your child 

Rapid increase in child food allergies


Ask the Expert

ADHD Expert

Dr Renata Schoeman has been in full-time private practice as a general psychiatrist (child, adolescent and adult psychiatry) since 2008, currently based in Oude Westhof (Bellville). Renata also holds appointments as senior lecturer in Leadership (USB) and as a virtual faculty member of USB Executive Development’s Neuroleadership programme. She serves on the advisory boards of various pharmaceutical companies, as a director of the Psychiatric Management Group (PsychMG) and is the co-convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD, and co-founder of the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation ( She is passionate about corporate mental health awareness and uses her neuroscience background to assist leaders in equipping them to become balanced, healthy and dynamic leaders that take their own and their team’s emotional, intellectual, social health and physical needs into account. Renata is academically active and enjoys research and collaborative work, has published in many peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at local and international congresses. She is regularly invited to present at conferences and to engage with the media. During her post-graduate studies, she trained at Harvard, Boston in neurocognition and neuroimaging. Her awards include, amongst others, the Young Minds in Psychiatry award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Discovery Foundation Fellowship award, a Thuthuka award from the NRF, and a MRC Fellowship. She also received the Top MBA student award and the Director’s award from USB for 2015. She was a finalist for the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year Award for 2016, and received the Excellence in Media Work award from SASOP during 2016.

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