Common Illnesses and Health Conditions

Illness and Health Conditions

There are a number of illnesses and health conditions common amongst children and young people. The following is information relating to flu, asthma, meningitis, eczema and migraine. 


What’s the difference between a cold and flu?

  • Flu can lost longer than a cold
  • You will feel much more poorly with flu and unlikely to want to get out of bed.
  • Flu is caused by the influenza virus whereby colds can be caused by many different viruses.


There are a variety of symptoms associated with flu like fever, headache, body aches, extreme tiredness and loss of appetite. It is common to get a runny nose and chills even when your temperature is high. Flu can last for up to a week.

The Flu Vaccine

To protect yourself you can have the flu vaccine. Currently the flu vaccine programme is being given for free to all children aged 2-4 and is also now being rolled out to children in Years 1 and 2 at primary school. It is also important to remember that the vaccine is available for free to your child if they have an underlying health condition.



Asthma can be a lifelong condition and how your child learns to manage their asthma is really important in making them become more independent. Remember everybody with asthma is different and reacts differently to how they deal with it.

If you’re unsure about anything to do with your child’s condition speak to your GP or Asthma nurse who can then help you to manage it.

You can also find out more at:



Your child may have already had the MenC vaccine but double check with your GP if you’re not sure. The vaccine is a good way to protect yourself against meningitis. Your child will also receive the meningitis booster in year 9. Remember though vaccines can’t protect your child against all forms of meningitis.

What are the symptoms?

Early signs such as vomiting, fever, aches and tiredness could be signs of a less serious illness. If your child has meningitis they can become seriously ill in a matter of hours. They may:

Have a very bad headache, a stiff neck, vomiting, a dislike of bright lights, develop a rash (that doesn’t disappear if a glass is pressed firmly against it), confusion, severe tiredness, seizures. They may get some of these symptoms in any order.

Contact a GP if you’re worried. You can find out more at or



Eczema is a common skin problem that can make skin irritable, red and itchy. It can appear on the face, neck, knees, elbows, hands and ankles most commonly. Though it can appear on other parts of the body.

Eczema is not contagious and can vary in severity.

How to manage eczema?

If your child has eczema their skin doesn’t provide the same level of protection and loses moisture causing the skin to become very dry. So the best way to help your child’s eczema is to thoroughly moisturise their skin. You can get special moisturisers called emollients that can help with this.

Your child can play sport though sweating may irritate your skin so encourage them to wear loose cotton clothing.

Visit your GP to diagnose the skin condition and to get help with managing it.



Migraine is much more than just a headache and it effects the body’s nervous system. Migraines effect 1 in every 5 women and 1 in every 15 men, and tend to start in early adulthood.

A migraine with aura means your child may get symptoms such as flashing lights when they are about to get a migraine, though migraines without any warning signs are just as common.

Some people have migraines that are triggered by factors like stress and tiredness.

If you are concerned that your child is experiencing migraines speak to the school nurse or GP. You can also find out more at