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WINTER ILLNESSES IN NORTH EAST SCHOOLS

September 26, 2022

WINTER ILLNESSES IN NORTH EAST SCHOOLS INFORMATION FOR PUPILS, PARENTS AND STAFF

September 2022

As autumn and winter approach, it is likely that there will be increasing numbers of people
affected by winter illnesses, such as diarrhoea and vomiting, influenza and scarlet fever. This
leaflet provides advice for pupils, parents and staff on how to reduce the risk of catching these
common bugs.

General hygiene
Handwashing is a highly effective way of preventing many infections from spreading. Pupils and
staff should frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap, particularly after using the
toilet, after using a tissue to catch a cough or sneeze, and before eating. As they are not
effective against some germs which cause gastrointestinal illnesses, hand sanitiser gels are not a
suitable substitute for handwashing after using the toilet.

Respiratory infections including influenza (flu) and COVID-19
Respiratory viruses such as flu and other flu-like illnesses spread easily between people from
coughs and sneezes and can live on y may develop quickly and can include sudden fever, a dry chesty
cough, a sore throat, aching body, headache, tiredness, diarrhoea or tummy pain, and nausea. For
most people, viral respiratory infections result in an unpleasant but self-limiting illness.
However, some people are at risk of developing severe illness or complications, including older
adults, pregnant women, those with a long-term condition or a weakened immune system, and those in
long-term care facilities.

All children aged 5 to 15 years can now have the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinating children can reduced
the risk of infection to your child and other they are in contact with.

There is more information on the COVID-19 vaccine for children at
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-covid-19-
vaccination-for-children/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine-for-children-aged-5-to-15/

 

The seasonal flu jab offers the best available protection against severe illness caused by the
influenza virus. All children and adults eligible for an NHS vaccination should take up this offer.

There is more information on the flu vaccine for children at
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/

 

If you or your child are in at at-risk group and develop symptoms of flu, you may require
anti-viral medication. Please seek prompt medical assessment via NHS 111, a GP or a nurse who will
be able to provide further advice.

If you or your child at in at at-risk group and have had recent contact with a confirmed influenza
case and have not had the seasonal flu jab, anti-viral treatment may be advised. Please seek prompt
advice via NHS 111, a GP or a nurse.

If you or your child are not in an at-risk group and develop symptoms of flu, and would like advice
on managing these symptoms, please consult a pharmacist, NHS 111, or your GP or nurse in the usual
way.

As with any respiratory illness, any child or staff member with these symptoms should stay off
school until any fever has resolved and they are well enough to do their normal activities.

There is more information on flu at nhs.uk/conditions/flu

 

Diarrhoea and vomiting
It is not unusual for viruses which cause diarrhoea and vomiting to circulate among children,
especially over the winter. If you or your child develop these symptoms and are concerned about
them, please contact NHS 111 or your GP or nurse in the usual way.

Any child or staff member who develops diarrhoea and/or vomiting should stay off school until 48
hours after they last had diarrhoea or vomiting.

There is more information on diarrhoea and vomiting at nhs.uk/conditions/diarrhoea-and-vomiting

 

Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, though it typically needs to be treated with a course of
antibiotics to minimise the risk of complications and reduce the spread to others. Scarlet fever is
characterised by a fine red rash which typically appears first on the chest and stomach, rapidly
spreading to other parts of the body. The skin can feel a bit like sandpaper, and the face and be
flushed red by pale around the mouth. The rash often appears after or along with symptoms such as a
sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Children who have recently had chickenpox are at
high risk of a more severe course of illness if they catch scarlet fever.

If you think you or your child has scarlet fever, please seek prompt medical assessment via NHS
111, or your GP or nurse.

Any child or staff member who develops scarlet fever should stay off school until 24 hours after
their first dose of antibiotics.

There is more information on scarlet fever at nhs.uk/conditions/scarlet-fever

 

COVID-19
It is possible that we will see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases over the autumn and
winter period. Vaccination offers the best available protection against severe illness caused by
COVID-19. Anyone eligible for an NHS COVID-19 booster vaccination should take up this offer.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, a new continuous cough, a loss of or change to your sense of
taste or smell, shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired, an aching body, a headache, sore
throat, blocked or runny nose, a loss of appetite, diarrhoea and feeling or being sick. If you or your child develop these
symptoms and are concerned about them, please contact NHS 111 or your GP or nurse in the usual way.

As with any respiratory illness, any child or staff member who develops these symptoms should stay
off school until any fever has resolved and they are well enough to do their normal activities.
Although most people are no longer eligible for COVID-19 testing, any child who happens to have a
positive COVID-19 test should stay off school for at least three days from the date of the test,
and any adult who happens to have a positive COVID-19 test should staff off school for at least
five days from the date of the test.

There is more information on COVID-19 at nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

 

School closures
The Health Protection Team does not frequently or routinely advise that schools close when there
are increased levels of diarrhoea and vomiting, increased number of COVID cases, or increase
numbers of cases of other winter illnesses. Closing schools does not usually provide substantial
additional protection against catching illnesses which are commonly circulating in the community.

However, schools may need to close for other practical reasons, such as due to high levels of staff
absence, or a need to facilitate additional cleaning. Any decision about school closures will be
taken by the school’s management team, and any queries regarding these should be addressed to the
school.


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Contact

Link School Springwell Dene
Swindon Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear  SR3 4EE

Tel: 0191 561 5777
Email: caroline.granton@schools.sunderland.gov.uk

Office Opening Times

Mon-Thurs: 8am – 4:30pm

Friday: 8am – 4pm

Link School Pallion
Waverley Terrace, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR4 6TA

Tel: 0191 561 4777
Email: anita.blakeman@schools.sunderland.gov.uk

 

 

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