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Common Signs of Common School Ailments

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

This contagious respiratory illness is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. It can be a dangerous illness in adults and children.
 
Possible signs of this condition include:
 
  • A runny nose.
  • Low-grade fever.
  • Vomiting after coughing.
  • Mild cough, which worsens after one to two weeks. The child will cough violently and rapidly until no air is left in the lungs, at which point the child inhales and makes the characteristic "whooping" sound.
  • Skin turning blue during coughing episodes.
  • Coughing can last for several weeks.
 
Whooping cough is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening infection. A diagnosis is made using a physical exam and other tests to rule out bronchitis or a common cold. It is typically treated with antibiotics. Although there is no way to completely prevent this infection, a pertussis vaccine is available that can help minimize a person's chance of infection.
 

Pinworms

These tiny, white, thread-like worms live in the large intestine. In many cases, children with pinworms do not have any symptoms. However, possible symptoms may include:
 
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Intense itchiness around the anus and vagina, particularly at night.
 
Pinworm infections are common among school-aged children. They are spread by a child who scratches the itchy area and then touches another person's mouth or hands. Treatment usually consists of medications.
 
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