Common back to school ailments and how to treat them

With the kids back at school, head lice, tummy upsets and worms often become a topic of conversation for many parents treating their kids. Your pharmacist is always on hand to offer advice, but let’s have a quick look at them:

Head lice

Head lice are small insects that live on the scalp and lay white eggs called nits. They can’t jump but are spread when people have their heads close together or by sharing brushes or hats. They make the head feel itchy and must be treated immediately. Treatments contain insecticides or natural oils and should be rubbed into the scalp and combed to the tips of the hair. Use a metal fine-toothed comb to remove dead lice and damage any surviving ones. Licener is a good natural treatment to look out for, proven to kill all stages of lice and eggs in 10 minutes. Combing a conditioner through the hair daily or adding tea tree oil to your conditioner may help prevent infestations.

Vomiting and diarrhoea

Vomiting and diarrhoea causes the loss of fluids and electrolytes which can result in dehydration. This can happen quickly so look for signs of dry mouth; sunken eyes; cold hands and feet; mottled bluish skin; unusual lack of energy or inability to drink. If your child has these signs or vomiting continues for longer than 3 hours or diarrhoea for 24 hours, call your Doctor. Rehydrate with a specially prepared solution such as Hydralyte to replace water and electrolytes.


Worms (usually threadworms) are caught by ingesting the worm’s eggs which hatch in the intestines and travel out to the anus and lay eggs, causing itching. If the area is scratched the eggs may lodge under the fingernails. They are then spread by touching food or other people, infecting them. You can check if your child has worms if they have the thread-like worms in their poo or suffer from an itching bottom, particularly at night. Your pharmacist can help you treat worms. It is advisable to treat all family members, in case the infection has spread. 



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