Hareside Primary School

Winter Illness Guidance


As autumn and winter approach, it is likely that there will be increasing numbers of people affected by winter illnesses, such as diarrhoea and vomiting, influenza and scarlet fever.


The below information provides advice for pupils, parents and staff on how to reduce the risk of catching these common bugs. 


General hygiene 


Handwashing is a highly effective way of preventing many infections from spreading. Pupils and staff should frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap, particularly after using the toilet, after using a tissue  to catch a cough or sneeze, and before eating. As they are not effective against some germs which cause  gastrointestinal illnesses, hand sanitiser gels are not a suitable substitute for handwashing after using the toilet. 


Respiratory infections including influenza (flu) and COVID-19


Respiratory viruses such as flu and other flu-like illnesses spread easily between people from coughs and  sneezes and can live on surfaces for several days. Symptoms may develop quickly and can include sudden  fever, a dry chesty cough, a sore throat, aching body, headache, tiredness, diarrhoea or tummy pain, and nausea. For most people, viral respiratory infections result in an unpleasant but self-limiting illness. 


Diarrhoea and vomiting 


It is not unusual for viruses which cause diarrhoea and vomiting to circulate among children, especially over  the winter. If you or your child develop these symptoms and are concerned about them, please contact NHS  111 or your GP or nurse in the usual way. 

Any child or staff member who develops diarrhoea and/or vomiting should stay off school until 48 hours after they last had diarrhoea or vomiting. 

There is more information on diarrhoea and vomiting at nhs.uk/conditions/diarrhoea-and-vomiting 


Scarlet fever


Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, though it typically needs to be treated with a course of antibiotics to minimise the risk of complications and reduce the spread to others. Scarlet fever is characterised by a fine red  rash which typically appears first on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body. The skin can feel a bit like sandpaper, and the face can be flushed red while remaining pale around the mouth. The rash often appears after or along with symptoms such as a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Children who have recently had chickenpox are at high risk of a more severe course of illness if they catch  scarlet fever. 


If you think you or your child has scarlet fever, please seek prompt medical assessment via NHS 111, or your GP or nurse. 


Any child or staff member who develops scarlet fever should stay off school until 24 hours after their first dose of antibiotics. 


There is more information on scarlet fever at nhs.uk/conditions/scarlet-fever