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Common childhood health issues

Common illnesses - Back to School

Head lice 

Head lice are tiny insects that live in hair. They are a common problem. The only way to be sure someone has head lice is by finding live lice or eggs. You can do this by combing their hair with a special detection comb, which can be purchased at a pharmacy. 

Although largely harmless, they can be irritating and live in the hair for a long time. You don’t need to see your GP. Your pharmacist will be able to recommend treatment or you can remove them with a special fine-toothed comb.

Upset tummy

A stomach ache, including stomach cramps or abdominal pain, doesn’t usually last long and isn’t usually caused by anything serious. Your pharmacist can give advice and suggest any medication which may be required, such as oral rehydration. 

If your child has diarrhoea, most cases will clear up after a few days without treatment, and you may not need to take them to the GP. They should drink plenty of fluids – frequent small sips of water – until it passes.


Treatment isn’t usually needed for conjunctivitis, because the symptoms often clear up within a couple of weeks. Washing your hands regularly and not sharing pillows or towels will help prevent it spreading. 

Public Health England advises that children don’t need to stay away from school if they have conjunctivitis, unless they are feeling particularly unwell.


Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasitic worms that infect the large intestine of humans. They are common in children under the age of 10. If you think you or your child may have threadworms, you can usually treat the infection yourself with medication available at pharmacies without a prescription.

However, pregnant women must not buy medication from a pharmacy. Theyshould speak to their GP or call NHS 111.


Make sure your child has an inhaler, knows where it is, and knows how and when to use it.

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