How to handle some of the more common bugs kids bring home from school | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

How to handle some of the more common bugs kids bring home from school

From colds to strep and lice, here’s a quick guide on how to handle some common back-to-school bugs.

Germs, viruses and bacteria are back in school too. And they’re coming home which means their sick day could potentially turn into your sick day.

Here are some of the more common illnesses that kids pick up in school and bring home, along with tips on how to treat them.


Symptoms: Sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, cough, mild fatigue, fever

Treatment: Home care products may relieve some of the symptoms but will not get rid of the illness. Antibiotics won’t help either — it just has to run its course. Take over-the-counter pain relievers, drink plenty of fluids and rest.

Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

Symptoms: Red, itchy eyes; blurred vision; sensitivity to light, eye discharge

Treatment: Antibiotics, usually eye drops, are effective for bacterial infections. Viral conjunctivitis will go away on its own.


Symptoms: Abrupt onset of fever, headache, muscle pain and malaise; possible sore throat and cough.

Treatment: Replace fluids and electrolytes (salt and minerals), and eat bland foods (crackers, toast, rice or chicken). Avoid dairy products and highly seasoned or fatty foods for a few days.


Symptoms: Itchy scalp. Frequent scratching may cause broken skin or sores to form on the scalp. The damaged skin may weep clear fluid or crust over, and it may become infected. In response to infection, the lymph nodes behind the ears and in the neck may become tender and swollen.

Treatment: Over-the-counter lice shampoos work in most cases, though others require a prescription. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more specific instructions.

For the Care You Need Now

For treatment of back-to-school illnesses, you have options. Norton Immediate Care Centers have extended hours, with some locations open until midnight and our Preston Highway location open 24/7. Along with Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens, Norton eCare and your primary care physician at Norton Community Medical Associates, we’re making it easier to get care when you need it.

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Symptoms: Fever; sore throat; enlarged lymph nodes, especially in the neck and armpit; facial swelling; general discomfort; drowsiness; loss of appetite; muscle aches or stiffness; enlarged spleen; rash.

Treatment: Talk to your pediatrician or primary care physician. Get lots of rest — sometimes for a month or longer. Use warm salt water (half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) to gargle for sore throat. Take acetaminophen for pain relief.

Pharyngitis (Sore Throat)

Symptoms: Sore throat (of course); fever; headache; joint and muscle aches; skin rash; swollen lymph glands in the neck

Treatment: If caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t help and it will go away on its own within five to seven days. However, antibiotics can help if the sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection.

Strep Throat

Symptoms: Sore throat, pain with swallowing, fever, headache, stomach ache, swollen tonsils and lymph glands

Treatment: Your health care provider likely will prescribe an antibiotic. Gargling with warm salt water (half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) several times a day and taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen can help with symptoms.

Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens is operated by Norton Healthcare. The health care providers at Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens are employees of Norton Healthcare. The health care providers are not employees, associates and/or agents of Walgreen Co. or any Walgreens subsidiary or affiliated company.

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