Every few seasons, there are a couple of childhood diseases that make their rounds within communities. Pharmacies play a vital role in helping to curb the spread of such outbreaks because many of these illnesses are vaccine-preventable, and most reputable pharmacies do offer these immunisations. The other reason why pharmacies are important when it comes to preventing community outbreaks is that they are the first point of contact for many patients seeking medical advice and assistance. They are thus able to better educate the public and provide useful information on how to care for one’s immune system, prevent the spread of disease, and what to do in the case of an infection.
Why Do Childhood Diseases Spread So Quickly?
Children are still building up their immunity during their first few years of development. This means they are prone to getting sick more often than healthy adults. In schools, childcare centres, and day cares, germs spread quickly because children often play close to each other. Kids are also not as clued up about preventing the spread of these germs, so sneezing and coughing while sharing toys or food, for example, are major spreaders.
Common Childhood Diseases for Which to Watch Out
While childhood illnesses may only cause mild discomfort for many children, there are potential complications that may arise. There are also childhood illnesses that become much more serious when they infect adults or pregnant women, such as chickenpox, fifth disease, strep throat, whooping cough, measles, and even the flu. Thanks to our membership of the Pharmacy Board, The Local Choice pharmacies can educate surrounding communities on recent outbreaks and what the symptoms and treatments entail. Some common outbreaks to watch out for include:
- Chickenpox (Varicella): The varicella virus spreads through direct contact with the blisters, saliva, or mucus of someone infected, and also spreads through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, body aches, and headaches, followed by red spots all over the body that turn into blisters that weep and crust over before healing.
- German Measles (Rubella): You can get the rubella virus via direct contact with nasal or throat secretions from an infected person, or by breathing in their air droplets when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Symptoms include a mild fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, congestion, inflamed and red eyes, aching joints, and a fine pink rash that spreads across the body.
- Measles: Exceptionally contagious, measles is spread through contact with droplets from an infected person when they speak, breathe, cough, or sneeze. Signs of infection include a high fever, sore throat and cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, a rash across the body, and Koplik’s spots inside the mouth.
- Mumps: The mumps virus spreads through respiratory droplets and contact with saliva. The main symptoms are swelling and discomfort in the salivary or parotid glands, fever, headaches, muscle aches, difficulty chewing, pain and tenderness in the testicles, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
- Whooping Cough (Pertussis): Pertussis is transmitted by airborne droplets from infected persons. Symptoms begin like those of a common cold (fever, runny nose, fatigue), but progress into prolonged coughing fits and gasping for air. Coughing fits may be so severe that they lead to vomiting and exhaustion.
- Diphtheria: Diphtheria bacteria are spread through respiratory droplets or contact with sores and ulcers of infected persons. Signs of infection include a high fever, thick, grey-white coating on the back of the throat, sore throat, difficulty breathing and swallowing, feeling unwell, headaches, and swollen glands in the neck.
Fortunately, our pharmacies offer vaccinations and immunisations against such outbreaks and you can rely on us for trusted advice and treatment plans. If you would like to visit one of our pharmacies, simply use our branch locator here.