When your child is sick in preschool

As a parent or carer, you suffer too when your little one is sick. But how sick is too sick for preschool?

Call the preschool early in the morning if your child is sick.

Some illnesses may be infectious. To stop these infections spreading to other children, see your doctor and keep your child at home for the advised time.

What to do if your child is sick

If your child has the following symptoms then it’s best to consult your doctor and keep your child at home:

  • a fever of 38°C or above
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • severe cold or flu symptoms
  • rashes of an unknown origin.

For more information about infectious diseases that may affect your child, contact NSW Health on 02 9391 9000.

Some typical infections

  • Chicken pox – a slight fever, runny nose and a rash that begins as raised pink spots that blister and scab.
  • Measles – fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes for a few days, followed by a red blotchy rash that starts on the face and spreads down the body and lasts four to seven days.
  • Conjunctivitis – the eye feels scratchy, is red and may water. Eyelids may stick together during sleep.
  • Impetigo (school sores) – small red spots change into blisters that fill with pus and become crusted. Usually on the face, hands or scalp.
  • Ringworm – small scaly patch on the skin surrounded by a pink ring.

Head lice

Don’t be alarmed if an outbreak occurs.

Head lice can be very annoying, but thankfully they will not harm your child’s health and have no bearing on a child’s personal hygiene.

Preventing head lice

  • Regularly check your child’s hair.
  • Keep long hair tied back or braided.
  • Keep a fine-toothed comb in the bathroom and encourage your family to use it when they wash their hair.

Treating head lice

Daily combing with a white hair conditioner using a fine-toothed comb will help get rid of head lice and their eggs (nits).

Useful websites

  • NSW Health - visit NSW Health for the latest information common and new infections, and what to do if your child is sick.
  • NSW Multicultural Health Communication Services - explore resources for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds including multilingual health information.
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