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Here we are again at the start of a new school year. For some it is the first year of school for others it is the last. But every year there are the challenges of getting back into a good routine and navigating the bacteria and viruses that come with having so many kids in the one spot.

Calanna Wholehealth are your trusted family pharmacy, dedicated to being a key part of your health team since 1976. Here are the top conditions we see at back to school time as well as tips for managing them.

1. Common cold

Symptoms: Mild fever, congestion, coughing, sneezing, headaches and a sore throat.

Treatment: Lots of fluids and rest – and keep them home.

Important: Should the fever persist for more than 5 days, or if there is nausea or diarrhoea, make sure to see your family GP or pharmacist

Prevention tip: Teach your kids to wash their hands properly and keep up their vitamins and minerals with a healthy diet and Schuessler’s tissue salts.

2. Influenza (Flu)

Symptoms: Fever of up to 40°C, body aches and chills, a headache, sore throat, cough and sometimes also vomiting and diarrhoea.

Treatment: Consult your GP early on to reduce it developing into something nasty. Lots of rest and fluids, Vitamin C and liquid Echinacea and a cold and flu medication can alleviate the symptoms.

Prevention tip: Influenza vaccinations are up to 90% effective in preventing influenza 2 weeks after the injection. Be sure to remind your children to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, and stay home if they are sick.

3. Pink eye

Symptoms: Eye irritation or sensitivity to light, excessive tearing or discharge, swollen eyelids and redness in the whites of the eyes.

Treatment: As it is most commonly caused by viruses, it usually resolves on its own without any treatment. However, if the condition is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotic eye drops or ointment will be required.

See your GP or pharmacist for further advice.

Prevention tip: Teach good hand hygiene and remind kids often to not touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, and wash linen regularly.

4. Stomach flu

Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.

Treatment: Most stomach viruses clear up within a few days to a week and require nothing more than rest. If symptoms show up abruptly, hydrate with water and isotonic drinks, and avoid oily and spicy food and dairy products for the initial few days until symptoms resolve. Consult your GP if symptoms persist or are accompanied by a high fever.

Prevention tip: These unfortunately cannot always be avoided but good hygiene, healthy food prep and lean surfaces help. Keep the sick person isolated to avoid cross contamination.

5. Lice

Symptoms: Itchy scalp, rash at hair line, visible lice.

Treatment: Head lice are quite common in school age children, and are spread from contact with other children with lice. It has nothing to do with cleanliness. Over-the-counter treatments from pharmacies including Natural ranges like Mario’s are a good place to start if you suspect your child has lice. Some home remedies can cause unwanted side effects so talk to your pharmacist and Naturopath before using a home remedy.

Prevention tip: Spraying your child’s hair and hat with preventative sprays, (range available at Calanna Wholehealth Pharmacy), can be an effective way to avoid picking up nits at school.