Back to School: Preparing for the Year Ahead

Superintendent Pharmacist Hitesh Dodhia from talks about how to prevent illnesses and ailments spreading around the classroom this September

Now that the summer holidays are over and kids across the UK are due to be thrust back into school buildings with hundreds or even thousands of classmates, many parents are racing around the high street to get supplies in time for the new school year, including products to help fight winter illnesses.

As with any momentous shift, it’s next to impossible to be entirely prepared for all possibilities. However, it’s important to remember that there is an increased risk of the schoolkids catching unwanted illnesses and ailments from the peers when they return to the classroom. As such, it is vital that parents are prepared for this as the first bell approaches!

Along with illnesses such as the common cold and flu, one of the most common health problems that children bring home with them after returning to school is head lice. TImage removed.ypically picked up through head-to-head contact, head lice can crawl or jump from one host to another – they live in human hair and survive on blood by biting their host’s scalp. The toughest challenge, given the size of the wingless insect, is spotting them – to check if your child has head lice, you can use a technique called dry combing to investigate. Fortunately, if head lice are present, then there are multiple options available to rid your child’s scalp of them. These include shampoos, sprays and gels readily available in your local pharmacy. 

Similarly, the tail-end of the summer months brings an additional risk of painful bumps and grazes, hay fever and sunburn, while the runny noses and illnesses such as the common cold and flu aren't far away. What’s more, P.E. lessons demand extra attention is paid to muscle tightness, warts, verrucae and eczema. For the physical activities that make up so much of the school year, parents must ensure they have the necessary products and treatments to hand in case their child catches a cold, grazes their knee or sees pre-existing conditions flair up.

All of this means that maintaining a well-stocked medical cabinet to fight illnesses and ailments really should as much of a back to school ritual as buying shiny new stationery, uniform and lunchboxes. By doing so, the discomfort associated with back-to-school health issues can be easily avoided.