Any good parent knows that back-to-school season isn't all autumn leaves and brown bag lunches. From boogers to boo-boos, being a parent is never easy, and it's especially tricky when kids are facing the elements. There is no shortage of nasty germs your child can pick up on the bus or at the playground, and there are plenty of potential accidents for any activity he or she pursues. But your job as a parent is to prevent harm and provide care in worst-case scenarios.
So we gathered important information on your parenting worst nightmares and followed up with easy ways to treat them if they occur.
What is it? Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an infection of the thin, transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eyeball. When the eye becomes infected, the blood vessels in the white part of the eye become inflamed, causing a reddish color that gives the disease its name [Source: Mayo Clinic].
How it's caused: Pink eye is caused by a bacterial or viral infection or an allergic reaction. The symptoms of pink eye include redness of the eye, tearing, itchiness, blurred vision and swelling [Source: WebMD].
How to prevent it: Tips to decrease the likelihood of catching conjunctivitis include washing your hands frequently throughout the day, regularly washing pillowcases, sheets and washcloths in hot water and avoiding hand to eye contact. It is also imperative to avoid sharing any and all makeup [Source: CDC].
What's the cure: Immediately consult your primary care doctor and determine the cause of the infection. This will be important in seeking the appropriate care for your eyes.
Allergy conjunctivitis, for example, is typically treated with an antihistamines while bacterial conjunctivitis requires antibiotics. In the meantime, while you're waiting for your medication, you may try placing a hot washcloth over the infected eye to soothe irritation. Avoid touching the eye at all costs!
What is it? There are three different types of lice – head lice, body lice and pubic lice (crabs). The most common type of lice in young children is head lice, which affects one out of every 10 school children [Source: Mayo Clinic; MedicineNet].
What to look for: Has your child been sharing his or her brush, clothing or belongings with another child? Close quarters are a strong indication that your child may be at risk for contracting lice i.e. camp or school grounds. Symptoms of lice include itchiness and discomfort as the lice begin to feed and leave sores on their victim's head [Source: MedicineNet].
How to prevent it: Do not allow your child to share any personal items such as sweatshirts, brushes, stuffed animals and pillows and be sure to wash these materials after special occasions like sleepovers and play dates.
What's the cure? For some children, lice are inevitable. The good news though, is that there are lots of home remedies to cure this nasty itch. There are plenty of over-the-counter shampoos available for removing lice, or you can apply olive or almond oil to the child's hair to 'slow the lice down' and then use a lice comb to comb the lice out of the child's hair.
After using these methods be sure to wash everything your child touched in the time that they were itching with hot water!
It's soccer season and every parent's worst nightmare is watching their child sit on the bench – especially when it's because of an injury!
What's the cause? The human brain lives inside the skull surrounded by fluid. When a person experiences a head trauma, such as a shock or blow to the head, the brain gets bounced around causing an imbalance in the equilibrium between the chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain [Source: HealthEast Care System]. This reaction causes the confusion and headaches often associated with concussions.
What to look for: Symptoms of a concussion include confusion, headache, nausea and in severe cases, loss of consciousness. Dilated pupils or pupils that are two different sizes can also be an indication of a concussion [Source: Mayo Clinic].
*It is important to recognize that symptoms can appear up to days after the trauma occurs.
How to prevent it: The best way to prevent a concussion is to recognize when you're the most vulnerable. Contact sports, motor vehicle accidents and falls are all common ways to procure a concussion [Source: HealthEast Care System]. Whenever possible, strap on that helmet and exercise precaution!
What's the cure? If you suspect that you or your child may be suffering from a concussion, go to the doctor immediately. Typically there is no cure for a concussion other than good ol' fashioned rest and relaxation, but it's always a good idea to get a professional opinion and be sure there is no serious risk of brain damage or internal bleeding.
What's the cause? Ear infections are the second most common reason for visiting the pediatrician, next to wellness visits [Source: WebMD]. Ear infections are commonly caused by respiratory or viral infections that cause a blockage in the middle ear preventing ventilation and creating a damp, stagnant and warm area ripe for infection. Allergies and other outside factors such as a buildup of water in the ear, known as Swimmer's Ear, can also cause an ear infection.
What to look for: Anyone who recently had the flu or a cold that may be feeling discomfort such as earaches, pain in the ear, headache and hearing loss, may be experiencing the symptoms of an ear infection.
How to prevent it: It's always a good idea to get your child vaccinated with the flu shot to prevent any unnecessary illness. It's also good practice to clean the ear canal lightly with a Q-tip and a solution of one part rubbing alcohol and one part hydrogen peroxide. This solution has a natural drying effect and will eliminate unnecessary moisture in your child's middle ear that can cause infection [Source: WebMD].
What's the cure? Unfortunately there is no hard and fast cure for ear infection, however taking your child to the doctor will help to determine what kind of infection they have. Antibiotics or ear drops are often prescribed for children to help with an ear infection.
What's the cause? As many parents know all too well, the influenza virus is transported from person to person through germs and personal contact. The elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease are at particular risk for catching the virus [Source: CDC].
How to prevent it: Get your kids and family the vaccine and be sure to keep clean! Wash your hands frequently and send your child to school with antibacterial hand sanitizer. Also stress to your child that if he or she is not feeling well, he or she can stay home. Don't be that mom who causes everyone else's children to get sick too.
What's the cure? The flu requires careful attention and a lot of rest. Sleep a lot, don't do any strenuous activities and drink lots of fluids. Avoid milk products as they will create a buildup of mucus, and don't start exercising until your body has fully recovered.
And don't forget! Watch out for those nasty ear infections that can accompany your awful, annual flu.
HowStuffWorks Now investigates why parents still tend to give their kids a paternal surname.
- "About Concussions." Www.healtheast.org/. HealthEast Care System, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- "Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) Prevention." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 June 2010. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- "Ear Infection Facts: Causes, Acute Infections, Chronic Infections, and More." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- "Flu Symptoms & Severity." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Sept. 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- Perlstein, David, MD, and William C. Shiel, MD. "Head Lice Treatment, Prevention, Symptoms, Signs, Pictures - MedicineNet." MedicineNet. MedicineNet.com, 29 May 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- "Pink Eye Due to Allergies." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Concussion." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 Feb. 2011. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Lice Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 22 May 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Pink Eye (conjunctivitis)." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 July 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .
- "Symptoms." Www.flu.gov/. CDC, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. <<a href="http://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/symptoms/">http://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/symptoms/>.