Public health 5-19 - common childhood illnesses

It is very important that children and young people attend school as much as they can so that they are prepared for adult life. The most common reason given for children to miss school is illness, however most of the time when children are only mildly unwell they can continue to attend school.

To help avoid unnecessary absence this section is a general guide to help you in school with regards to common conditions.

Schools are a breeding ground for bugs and infections. Due to the high levels of sickness in school caused through various bugs, the Health Protection Agency has produced an informative, interactive website about bugs and microbes. There is a separate section for secondary school students.

You will find lots of presentations that might assist a greater understanding of infection transmission and infection control.

Useful links


Children's Nasal Flu Vaccine

Chicken pox



Scarlet fever

Warts and Veruccas 

Slapped cheek

Thread worms

Approximately 40% of primary school age children will get threadworms at some stage and they can easily go on to infect the whole family. 

As a school you may want to follow some of the advice given to parents/carers in our helpful factsheet (PDF 5MB).

It gives you advice and information regarding threadworms that you can share with parents/carers

Ticks - Lyme Disease


Nitty Gritty offers a discount to schools if you would like to bulk buy combs to sell to parents and carers. They also have downloadable leaflets or you can order leaflets for free to give out to parents and carers.

Bug Buster kit is also available on prescription. The charity Community Hygiene Concern (CHC) has a video about wet combing for head lice.  A good idea is to add this link to your school newsletter or text it home to parents. 

CHC also have a helpline for professionals and parents.


PHE E-bug Key stage 3 teaching resource(PDF 6735k)    

PHE E-Bug Key stage 4 and 5 teaching resources  (PDF 3283k)

PHE Guidance on infection control in schools(PDF 322k) 

PHE Hand washing advice (PDF 331k)

PHE Infectious diseases advice for schools  (PDF 105k)

PHE Poster guidance on infection control in schools (PDF 54k)

British Association of Dermatology Impetigo leaflet  (PDF 228k)

Nitty Gritty Facts of lice (PDF 87k)

Nitty Gritty How to get a prescription (PDF 381k)

Nitty Gritty Why it works (PDF 31k)

PH 5-19 Service resources (PDF 5MB)

PH 5-19 Allergy and Intolerance Questionnaire (PDF 1MB)

Bladder and bowel problems in childhood and young people are very common. Problems including difficulties with toilet training, wetting and/or soiling affect up to 28% of all children and adolescents at any one time.

Younger children are affected more often than older children, but problems can happen at any age. Parents or carers often feel as if their child is the only one suffering, as nobody talks about it. Professionals may not know what advice or support to give.

The options below provide useful information that will help you in the school setting.

Useful Links

CCC - Early Help

Cumbria Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB)

Bowel and bladder UK

NHS constipation information

NHS Live Well 6 - 15 years

NHS Choices

CPFT Child constipation leaflet (PDF 31k)

CPFT Child enuresis information  (PDF 245k)

CPFT Nocturnal enuresis leaflet (PDF 245k)

CPFT Promoting healthy bladders  (PDF298k)

Children's Community Nurses Cumbria NHS

Cumbria NHS

Cumbria NHS Factsheets

ERIC guide to managing continence in school  (PDF 1121k)

The National Autistic Society

Migraine headaches are the most common acute and recurrent headache pattern experienced by children.

Migraine is just not a headache, we know that 1 in 10 children are affected and approximately 2.75 million school days are missed each year because of it.

Useful Links

NHS Children's headache information

Factsheets about migraine in children and adolescents (PDF 1106k)

Migraine facts (PDF 292k)

Migraine triggers for young people (PDF 164k)

NICE Guidelines: headaches in over 12's diagnosis and management (PDF 171k)

Vision and hearing difficulties can sometimes take a while to become apparent in school, in this time children can miss out on learning.

During their first year at school children will have a vision and hearing screen. Besides this children should have an eye test every two years, as problems can occur at any age. Certain behaviours can be a sign follow the link for signs of vision and hearing difficulties.

Useful Links

Hearing tests for children

NHS eye screenings and tests for children

Ear Ache

Glue Ear

Middle ear Infections

British Deaf Association

Long - sightedness

Short - sightedness


Lazy eye 

Figures for incidents of tooth decay among youngsters in the north west show it is the worst region in the country. Thirty-three percent of five year olds in the region were found to have decayed, missing or filled teeth, compared to the national average 25 percent.

This comes after new data shows the number of tooth extractions in hospital for children aged four and under has risen by almost a quester in the last decade. In Cumbria, almost 500 children underwent tooth extractions in 2015.

Useful Links

Find Dental Services

PHE Tooth brushing toolkit (PDF 779k) 

Smile 4 Life poster (PDF 4059k)

Smile 4 Life too much of a rush to brush poster (PDF 97k)

Smile 4 Life toothpaste parent information prompt sheet (PDF 137k)

Smile 4 Life visiting the dentist  (PDF 287k)

Skin conditions are common in children and considered a long term condition, although it can improve over time, especially in children, who often grow out of it.

Use the following link for a visual guide on common skin conditions such as Warts, Atopic Eczema, Athletes foot, Acne, herpes cold sore, psoriasis, Contact dermatitis, verruca's.

Skin Conditions a Useful Guide NHS Choices 

'Wrap, hat and splat' National Schools Partnership- sun awareness education programme