In the classroom you never know what you will be confronted with on a daily basis. You never know what you might take home with you as well- it can go from least severe such as a common cold to the worse, bedbugs. Of course you don’t think about it everyday but you do have your guard up. Sadly, you want to give the children tons of hugs and affection but you just never know what you can walk away with. This is what happened to me when I was in the classroom:
Right before the last day of school a teacher came to visit a student of mine that she had in second grade. Ashton seemed healthy and had no complaints of any. When I called him up to give him kudos for a great third grade year, he reached over to hug me cheek to cheek when I noticed a patch by the right side of his temple. I whispered into his ear, “Ashton, I am sending you to the nurse- seems like you may have ringworm”. He was calm and I immediately called down to the nurse to give her a heads up.
My reaction was so quick because I have been in the field for over ten years and I know that so many things can be contagious. Ringworm, also known as “Tinea” is a skin infection just like athletes foot and jock itch. This fungus can affect nails and scalp and is itchy and uncomfortable. It also appears ten to fourteen days after contact. The name ringworm comes for the rings that border around the clear middle. Rings don’t have to be present and sometimes it can even go undetected which leads to many more problems because this is how it can spread. Places like the feet and scalp are not as noticeable as on a place that is clearly visible as Ashton’s was.
When Ashton returned back from the nurse he had a bandage over it. His parent was not called and he finished off his day. I have seen that method many times and it makes me a bit uneasy. Of course I feel parents should be called because this is contagious. Sure enough the next day the child was back in the classroom with that same bandage on his face. From years in daycare I know that the bandage does not allow the fungus to air out which only causes the fungus to remain and continue being contagious. Once ringworm has been detected your doctor can prescribe an oral medication or a cream. If you are able to keep your child home for a few days that is always a plus, or at least for 24 hours after the medicine has been administered.
Here are a few tips that I used in my classroom and within my home to prevent ringworm, which by the way we have not had in our home so far:
Keeping areas that become wet dry
I find this may happen when children perspire or when they come from the pool. Making sure they are dried up quickly and their clothing is changed. When drying, the children must make sure they are not using another person’s towel for any part of their body. Sharing items is another negative as you never know what a person is carrying on their skin.
Wearing shoes or sandals
When in public have your children wear soles to cover their feet. Stepping on pavement where someone else may have the fungus may lead to the contamination. Many times we are guilty of walking around barefoot- we must keep in mind of these germs spreading.
Touching pets and wearing appropriate clothing
Many of our children are quick to greet an unfamiliar pet that may have a bald spot. This bald spot can be an indication that they had the fungus and have lost hair because of it. This fungus then becomes embedded on your child’s skin or nails in which contamination begins. Tight fit clothing is another area where your pores do not get enough air and bacteria may begin to grow due to perspiration.
I also find that getting our children into the habit of washing their hands and using plenty of hand sanitizer while on the go helps as well. We must remind our children to be mindful of being sanitary. Educating our children can lead to a healthier environment and although some things cannot be prevented there are many precautions that we can take so germs don’t spread. All helpful hints to make our lives as parents much smoother with the day to day episodes that our lives entail.
Have you experienced Ringworm “Tinea” in your home and what have been some of your precautions?