By the time our kids reach school age, their immune systems are still developing. When they begin attending school with lots of other children, they come into contact with bugs and viruses which can lay them low easily.


It may seem as though your kids are always getting sick once they start school but don’t worry, as they get older their immune systems will get much stronger and they won’t be so prone to these bouts of illness.


These are five of the most common illnesses school age children get and tips on how to treat them at home.


Common cold

The main symptoms are a runny nose, coughing and/or congestion. When your child develops a cold, it’s a good time to teach them the proper way to use a tissue for coughs and sneezes so it doesn’t spread to the rest of the family.


Colds generally run their course within a week or two but keep an eye on it as a child’s cold can develop into the flu, an ear infection or chest infection.


You can treat a common cold with lots of fluids, rest, and keeping their head elevated at night to relieve congestion.




Chickenpox is almost a rite of passage for toddlers and young children.


Chickenpox symptoms include a rash all over the body, itchy spots and sometimes flu-like symptoms.


Chickenpox is very contagious and can be harmful to young babies, older people or those with compromised immune systems.


Topical treatments such as calamine lotion can relieve the itching until the rash subsides, and the flu-like symptoms can be treated with children’s paracetamol.



If your child has red itchy eyes, they may be suffering from the common eye infection conjunctivitis.


Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, a virus or sometimes allergies, and spreads through skin to skin contact. Conjunctivitis takes 1-2 weeks to go away on its own, and eye drops can help relieve itchiness and redness. If your child’s conjunctivitis seems to be getting worse, take them to the doctor.




Diarrhoea is pretty common in young children and can be a symptom of viruses or bacteria in the system. It can also be caused by food poisoning.


Keeping your child well-hydrated with lots of water and fluids and an electrolyte solution can help too. Monitor your child carefully to make sure they don’t become dehydrated. If you notice any signs of dehydration, seek medical help immediately.

Ear infections

Unfortunately young children are prone to developing agonizing ear infections because of the structure of their ear tubes.


When bacteria enters these ear tubes from a common cold, allergy or sinus infection, swelling occurs and prevents fluid from draining out properly, leading to inflammation, which is painful and often leads to a fever in children.


A warm compress and drinking lots of fluids can help alleviate the swelling.



If your child has any kind of blood or pus in the ear, this could be a sign of a perforated eardrum so consult your doctor if you notice this.


If you have concerns about your child’s health, always seek advice from your doctor.