Guidance for Infection Control in Schools
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), is the nation’s new public health body focused on health protection and security. The organisation issues advice to schools regarding preventing the spread of infections by ensuring: routine immunisation, high standards of personal hygiene and practice, particularly handwashing, and maintaining a clean environment.
The document below will help you to decide when and if your child needs to be kept away from school due to potential spread of infection. For example, if your child is sick or has diarrhoea, they need to be absent from school for 48 hours from the last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea. This is essential to stop a stomach bug being spread around the school. Children with rashes should be considered infectious and assessed by their doctor.
Administration of Medicine During School Hours
On occasion, it may be necessary for your child to take medicine, for example antibiotics or Calpol, during the time they are at school. Staff cannot administer any medicine unless we have written permission from a parent. Please complete the appropriate form and hand it in with the appropriate medicine to the school office. Unfortunately, this does not include medicine classed as 'controlled drugs' which cannot be kept on school premises or administered by staff.
Head lice or nits
From time to time your child/children may get head lice as they are very common. They are small (adult lice are the size of a sesame seed) grey-brown insects that live only on human scalps. They cannot fly or jump; neither can they burrow into the scalp. They can affect anyone, with long or short hair, no matter how clean the hair is.
Head lice can affect anyone, but are:
- Most common in children between the ages of 4 and 11
- More common in girls than boys
- Most often found at the start of the school year
If your child has lice, please do let the school know and we will be able to ask parents of other children in the class to do extra checks! Your child does not need to take any time off school for headlice but please do ensure you remove all lice and eggs before they attend. One of the easiest ways to do this is to generously apply conditioner to wet/damp hair and use one of the special 'nit combs' to carefully comb through sections of hair. Spare combs are available from the school office.
Please find below links to helpful leaflets and information for parents.
A useful leaflet from the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD)
A useful leaflet from NHS Scotland
Further information can also be found at NHS Choices
Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasitic worms that hatch eggs in and infect the large intestine of humans. Threadworms are the most common type of worm infection in the UK, and they are particularly common in young children, infecting up to half of all children under the age of 10. Threadworms are white and look like a small piece of thread. You may notice them around your child's bottom or in your or your child's stools (poo). They don't always cause symptoms. Some people notice itchiness around their anus (back passage) or vagina, which can be worse at night and can sometimes disturb sleep. Read more about the symptoms of threadworms.
How are threadworms spread?
Threadworms are spread from person-to-person as a result of poor hygiene. If one member of a household is infected, there is a high risk that other members will also be infected. It is therefore necessary to treat the entire household and to practice particularly thorough hygiene for six weeks (this is how long the worms live) to prevent re-infection.
Threadworms can be prevented from occurring by always maintaining good hygiene. Children should wash their hands regularly, particularly after going to the toilet and before mealtimes. Kitchen and bathroom surfaces should be kept clean. Encouraging your children not to scratch the affected area around their anus or vagina (in girls) will help prevent re-infection and help to avoid a skin infection. As itching is worse at night, wearing cotton gloves while sleeping may help.
Threadworm life cycle
Threadworms lay their eggs around an infected person's anus (back passage), usually at night. Along with the eggs, the worm also secretes a mucus that causes itching. If the eggs get stuck on the person’s fingertips when they scratch, they can be transferred to their mouth or onto surfaces and clothes. Other people who touch an infected surface can then transfer the eggs to their mouth. Threadworm eggs can survive for up to three weeks before hatching. If the eggs hatch around the anus, the newly born worms can re-enter the bowel. Eggs that have been swallowed will hatch inside the intestine. After two weeks, the worms reach adult size and begin to reproduce, starting the cycle again. Humans are thought to be the only host for threadworms. Animals can't catch or pass on threadworms, unless the eggs are transported on the animal’s fur after contact from an infected person.
Treatment of threadworms
You can treat threadworms yourself with medication available without prescription from pharmacies. However, treatment does not kill the eggs hatched by threadworms. Good hygiene is the only way to prevent the eggs from spreading and causing further infection. To successfully treat threadworms, all household members must be treated, even if they have no symptoms.
The aim of treatment is to get rid of the threadworms and prevent re-infection. To do this, you can either:
- Follow strict hygiene measures (see below) for six weeks.
- Take medication and follow strict hygiene measures for a minimum of two weeks.
Visit your GP if you think that you have threadworms and you:
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- your child has threadworms and they are under two years old
The life span of threadworms is approximately six weeks, so it's important that the hygiene methods are followed for six weeks. Everyone in the household must follow the advice outlined below.
- Wash all night clothes, bed linen, towels and soft toys when you are first diagnosed. This can be done at normal temperatures but make sure that the washing is well rinsed.
- Thoroughly vacuum and dust the whole house, paying particular attention to the bedrooms. Continue to vacuum regularly and thoroughly.
- Carefully clean the bathroom and kitchen by damp-dusting surfaces and washing the cloth frequently in hot water. Continue to clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces regularly and thoroughly.
- Avoid shaking any material that may be contaminated with eggs, such as clothing or bed sheets. This will help prevent eggs being transferred to other surfaces.
- Don't eat food in the bedroom, because you may end up swallowing eggs that have been shaken off the bedclothes.
- Keep your fingernails short. Encourage other members of your household to do the same.
- Discourage nail-biting and sucking fingers. In particular, make sure that children don't suck their thumb.
- Wash your hands frequently and scrub under your fingernails, particularly before eating, after going to the toilet and before and after changing your baby's nappy.
- Wear close-fitting underwear at night and change your underwear every morning.
- Bath or shower regularly, particularly first thing in the morning. Make sure that you clean around your anus and vagina to remove any eggs.
- Ensure that everyone in your household has their own face flannel and towel. Don't share towels.
- Keep toothbrushes in a closed cupboard and rinse them thoroughly before use.
Children can easily pick up another threadworm infection from friends or at school, so maintaining good hygiene may help prevent another outbreak.
Medication can be used to treat threadworms. It should be taken by everyone in the household as the risk of transmission between household members is high (around 75%), which means that everyone in the household is likely to be infected, even if they don't have any symptoms. Mebendazole and Piperazine are two medications that are commonly used to treat threadworm infections.