Brief Explanations of Common Childhood Illnesses
CHICKEN POX – 2-3 weeks after exposure to infected individual. Communicable from 1-2 days before rash appears. Signs are slight fever and irritability for one day, then fine blisters appear, first on trunk, then rest of body. Isolate child seven days or until all scabs are dry, whichever is longer.
RINGWORM OF THE SCALP – Onset 10-14 days after exposure to infected persons, animals, or other articles. Communicable as long as lesions are present. Signs are small ring shaped lesions, scaly patches of temporary baldness. Seek medical attention for medication; isolation is impractical.
RINGWORM OF THE BODY – Onset 10-14 days after exposure to infected persons, animals, or other articles. Communicable as long as lesions are present. Signs are flat, spreading, ring shaped lesions. Treatment is through bathing and removal of scabs and crust and application of fungicidal cream (e.g. Tinactin). Not practical to isolate child.
STREPTOCOCCAL INFECTIONS – (includes Scarlet Fever and Strep Sore Throat) – Onset 2-5 days after exposure to respiratory secretions. Communicable 10-21 days if untreated. Symptoms are sore throat, fever, and in some instances, a rash develops. Seek medical attention if symptoms appear; isolate child until 48 hours after antibiotic treatment or until child is able to participate.
IMPETIGO – (Streptococcal or staphlococcal skin infection) – Onset 5 days after exposure to an infected individual. Appears as honey crusted sores around mouth, nose or extremities. In very mild cases, soak and remove crust and cover with antibiotic cream. In other cases, seek medical treatment. No need to isolate child if under treatment or after 48 hours oral antibiotic treatment begun.
CONJUNCTIVITIS (pink-eye) – Onset 24-74 hours after exposure to an infected individual or articles, e.g. towels, water pools. Can spread as long as infection is active. Symptoms are irritated, tearing eyes, swollen lids, and a yellow discharge that makes the eye-lashes sticky. Children under 5 are most susceptible. Consult with physician for treatment; isolate until symptoms disappear.
HEAD LICE – Transmitted directly or indirectly from another human. Contact must be close; lice do not jump or fly. Child may complain of an itchy head. Eggs or nits (tiny, pearly white objects) which stick tightly to the hair shaft should appear around neckline and around ears. Consult your physician or pharmacist for treatment. Child should be checked carefully and clothes and bedding cleaned thoroughly.
HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE – Onset is 3-4 days after exposure to respiratory secretions, or feces of infected individual. Communicable during the acute stage of illness. Begins with sudden fever, then with small, painful sores in mouth and throat (may also appear on hands, feet, and legs). See medical attention for relief of symptoms.
SALMONELLOSIS – Onset is 15-30 days after exposure to article or food contaminated with the feces of an infected individual. Signs are sudden abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and loss of appetite. Suspected cases should seek medical treatment. Health department will follow-up contacts.