Childhood Illnesses

Illness and Incubation / Infectious Period


What to do

Chicken Pox

14 16 days incubation.

Infectious day before rash appears until spots are dry.

Generally unwell, rash (red spots becoming fluid filled blisters) possibly a temperature

No need to see the doctor unless very unwell / distressed. Give plenty of fluids. Paracetamol to lower a temperature. Baths, loose clothing and calamine lotion can ease itchiness.

Measles (Immunisation available)

7 12 days incubation.

Infectious few days before rash appears until five days after it goes.

Non-itchy rash (red slightly raised spots; may become blotchy). Unwell with cough and high temperature.

No need to see the doctor unless very unwell. Give rest and plenty to drink. Paracetamol to lower the temperature. Vaseline around the lips protects the skin. Wash crustiness from eyelids with warm water.

Mumps (Immunisation available)

14 21 days incubation.

Infectious a few days before becoming unwell until swelling goes down.

Pain around the ear or discomfort when chewing. Swelling under the jaw up by the ear.

No need to see the doctor unless child has stomach-ache and is being sick. Child may not feel especially unwell. Paracetamol to ease pain in swollen glands. Give plenty to drink but not fruit juices as they make saliva flow, which can hurt.

Rubella (German Measles) (Immunisation available)

14-21 days incubation.

Infectious a few days before illness starts until a week after rash first appears.

Can be difficult to diagnose with certainty. Starts with mild cold. Rash (flat spots) appears in a day or two first on face then spreading. Glands at back of neck may be swollen

No need to see the doctor. Child doesnt usually feel unwell. Give plenty to drink. Keep child away from pregnant women (or those trying to become so). If child was in contact with anyone pregnant before illness became known, let them know.

Whooping Cough (Immunisation available)

Incubation 7 14days

Infectious from first signs of illness until about 6 weeks after coughing unless antibiotic given.

A gradually worsening cough. Coughing bouts start after about 2 weeks causing exhaustion and breathing difficulty. Sometimes, but not always, there is a whooping noise as child draws breath after coughing.

Contact the doctor if child has a worsening cough with longer and more frequent fits of coughing. It is important for the sake of other children to know whether or not it is whooping cough. It takes some weeks before the coughing fits start to die down.

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