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Is your child contagious?

Is a fever contagious? What about colds, ear infections, and pinkeye? Here's how to tell if your child has a contagious illness or condition.

Do you need to isolate your child if they have a cold, an ear infection, a fever, pinkeye, or any common paediatric illness? Continue reading to learn what measures to take and how long these illnesses are contagious.

Cold (Upper Respiratory Infection)

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the average young child between the ages of one and three may experience up to 12 colds each year. Coughing or a runny or stuffy nose are telltale indications.

Is a cold contagious? When your child is sickest (days three through five), they are the most infectious. However, symptoms can persist for up to two weeks and are contagious for as long as they are sick. Of course, you can’t keep them in quarantine for days. So wash your hands frequently after touching them, and keep them away from other children when the cold is at its peak. And what if the snot is green rather than yellow? It makes no difference. Colds, regardless of mucus colour, are contagious.

Ear infections

Ear infections are primarily caused by bacteria lodged behind the eardrum and causing pressure in the middle ear canal. Fever, decreased appetite, fussiness, and sleep disturbance are all possible signs of ear infections. The good news is that ear infections are not contagious, unlike colds.

Diarrhoea and vomiting

Diarrhoea and vomiting are sometimes accompanied by fever and are often caused by viruses infecting the gastrointestinal tract. Vomiting usually lasts 24 to 48 hours, while diarrhoea might last a week or longer.

If your child is vomiting, they are contagious from the beginning of the symptoms until they feel better. Contagiousness with diarrhoea lasts from the first symptom until normal stools form again.

Pinkeye

Pinkeye is an infection of the lining of the eye and eyelids that causes redness, itching or pain, and eye discharge. If your child gets pinkeye in one eye, rubbing will transfer it to the other. While pinkeye goes away quickly, at the very least, you should keep your child away from others for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotic eyedrops.

Impetigo

This bacterial skin infection caused by strep or staph usually begins around the aperture of the nose. However, it can appear on any skin surface and appears as an oozing honey-coloured crust. Impetigo is spread via physical contact and is contagious for 24 hours after the first appearance of lesions.

Roseola

This common paediatric virus generates a high fever. When a child’s fever breaks, they will acquire a red rash on their body, which may continue for a day or two. According to studies, roseola is usually not contagious once the rash occurs.

Croup

Croup gets its name from the barking dog or seal-like cough it produces. Croup is caused by a virus that attaches to the throat lining and produces swelling of the upper airway. A fever frequently accompanies croup, and the symptoms last five to seven days.

Croup is contagious as long as there is a fever and a cough. While prednisone helps to reduce the severity of symptoms, it does not prevent your child from transmitting the virus as long as they have symptoms. Keep them at home until the “barking” stops.

Pneumonia

Viral pneumonia can cause wheezing and asthma-like symptoms that might linger for a few weeks but are usually not severe. Bacterial pneumonia usually makes children sicker, with a high temperature, lethargy, and cough.

Coughing and sneezing spread both types of pneumonia. Children with the viral type are contagious for as long as they have symptoms. However, like colds, they are most contagious between days three and five of the illness. Contagiousness with bacterial pneumonia lasts from the first respiratory symptom until 48 hours after commencing antibiotics.

Fever

If your child has a fever, keep them at home regardless of the disease. It may appear to be harmless, but any fever is an indication of a contagious disease. Viruses that produce fevers are infectious as long as the temperature is higher than 38 degrees Celcius.

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