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Hints for Parents

5851092 s sergeiteleginThe following hints will help parents understand and recognise symptoms of common childhood viruses

Chickenpox

  • Infectious From the day before the spots appear until all the spots are dry 7-10 days
  • Incubation Period 14-21 days
  • Treatment No need to see the doctor unless you are unsure of the condition. Paracetamol will help to bring down a temperature. To ease irritation: baths, calamine lotion and comfortable loose clothing.
  • Recognition Begins with a rash, feeling unwell and possibly a temperature. Spots start red, becoming blistered after a day or so. They start on the chest and back, finally dry into scabs and drop off.

Measles

  • Infectious From a few days before the rash appears until five days after it has gone.
  • Incubation Period 10-15 days
  • Treatment See the doctor. Give plenty of rest and drink. Warm drinks will ease a cough. Paracetamol will reduce temperature, Vaseline to protect lips, warm water to bathe crustiness around eyes.
  • Recognition Starts with feverish illness followed by rash of red, slightly raised spots which may be blotchy. The rash is not itchy but the child is very unwell with a high temperature and cough possibly for a week.

Rubella (German Measles)

  • Infectious From a few days before the illness starts until one week after the rash has first appeared
  • Incubation Period 14-21 days
  • Treatment No need to see the doctor. Keep your child away from anyone who is pregnant. Advise any such person who may have been in contact with your child before you knew of the illness.
  • Recognition Starts like a mild cold, rash appears first on the face spreading to the body. Spots are pale pink and flat; glands on the back of the neck may swell. Give plenty of drinks.

Mumps

  • Infectious From a few days before the swelling appears until it has gone down.
  • Incubation Period 10-15 days
  • Recognition Child may complain of pain around the ear or when chewing. Swelling starts under the jaw up by the ear, often one side at first. It is rare for mumps to affect boys' testes. This affects adult men more often but permanent damage is rare.
  • Treatment No need to see your doctor unless your child is drowsy, vomiting or there is a pain in the testes. Paracetamol will ease pain; plenty of drinks but not fruit juices.

Whooping Cough

  • Infectious Until six weeks after the first sign of the illness starting.
  • Recognition The cough gets gradually worse with prolonged bouts beginning after about two weeks. This may make it difficult for the child to take breath and is very tiring. There may also be a whooping as the child draws breath and the child may vomit at the end of a coughing bout.
  • Treatment See a doctor if the symptoms are as described above. This is important in order to protect other children.

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