Schooldays.ie - Ireland's Online Resource for Parents & Teachers

Parenting & Education in Ireland

10 common kid's summer illnesses to watch out for


We all want the summer months to be a time of fun and laughter for the little ones. However, unfortunately this is not always the case. Just like in winter with colds and flu, there are a few illnesses that come with summer that we should all watch out for, and protect children from catching. Here are ten common summer illnesses to look out for, with tips on how to avoid them:

1. Swimmer’s ear

Swimmers ear is an infection of the outer ear canal which occurs when water remains trapped in the ear. This creates a moist environment, which aids bacterial growth. As the name suggests, kids are most likely to contract swimmer’s ear after time spent in the pool or sea. Swimmer’s ear may result in the ear feeling full and itchy and can be extremely painful. Some children (or adults) may also experience temporary hearing loss. Swimmer’s ear is easily treated with over the counter antiseptic ear drops and may be avoided by wearing ear plugs while in the water.

2. Sunstroke

Sunstroke occurs when too much time has been spent in the sun resulting in an extremely high body temperature. Sunstroke may cause rapid pulse, disorientation, nausea,a dry swollen tongue and red, hot skin. In extreme cases, sunstroke may cause the sufferer to become unconscious. Sunstroke can be extremely serious and in these cases a trip to the emergency room is essential. In order to avoid sunstroke, try and keep your kids in the shade during the heat of the day and ensure that they keep hydrated by having them drink lots of fluids.

3. Heat rash

Heat rash is characterised as a red or pink rash, usually on the head, neck and shoulders. It occurs when the sweat ducts become blocked and swell, resulting in itching and discomfort. Heat rash is usually caused by wearing heavy clothes in the heat. Dress your kids in light clothing in order to reduce the risk of heat rash. Heat rash usually goes away after a day or two and does not require medical attention.

4. Hay fever

Hay fever is a common condition, showing signs and symptoms similar to a cold, with symptoms usually worsening in spring and summer. It can be light in some, but can also be quite a powerful hindrance for some other children.To find out if you should look into whether your child has hayfever or not, or if you are simply interested in learning more about hay fever, click here.

5. Eczema

Eczema is a common, recurring skin disease which causes an irritating rash on the body. Eczema is often caused by allergies and may actually improve during the summer. However, chlorine and sun exposure can cause the skin to dry out, triggering irritation. Increased sweat may also worsen eczema. If your child suffers from eczema, try to wipe down their skin when in the heat so as to reduce the build-up of sweat. Make sure to use hypoallergenic sunscreen and a good moisturiser on your child’s skin every day. Dress them in cool clothes so as their skin can breath, reducing irritation.

6. Lyme disease

Lyme Disease is not terribly common in Ireland. However, the number of people affected by the disease is on the rise. It is important to inform yourself of the disease so as to protect yourself and your family. Lyme disease is a tick borne disease and is most likely to be contracted during the summer months.

For more on Lyme disease, click here.

7. Food poisoning

Food Poisoning is a food borne illness which reaches its peak during the summer. Heat aids bacterial growth and the increase in participation in outdoor activities also increases the risk of food poisoning. Food poisoning occurs when we eat food containing certain types of bacteria and viruses.


Microorganisms then continue to grow in the digestive tract, causing an infection. Symptoms typically include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, with a fever in some cases.Protect your kids against food poisoning by ensuring meats are cooked through and keeping up good hygiene in the kitchen.

8. Coxsackie Virus

Coxsackie Virus is common in cooler climates, during the summer and autumn months. The virus sometimes causes mild flu like symptoms with about 50% of children showing no symptoms at all. Hand, foot and mouth disease is a type of Coxsackie virus causing painful blisters on the tongue, gums, palms of hands and soles of feet. Most children fully recover from hand, foot and mouth within a week. Encouraging kids to wash their hands will help prevent the spread of the disease.


9. Bee stings

Bee stings are most likely to occur during the summer and can be traumatic for young kids. Teach your kids to be calm around bees and they will be less likely to be stung. Swatting and flailing limbs will only increase the chances of a bee stinging your child. For tips on how to treat bee stings, click here.


10. Eye damage

Eye Damage, while not an illness is an extremely important risk to be avoided, but is often overlooked. Young eyes are particularly vulnerable to the harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun as the lense of a child’s eye is more transparent than that of an adult. Have your child wear sunglasses when exposed to the sun at all times. A wide brimmed hat will add extra protection to your kid’s eyes. Always remember that UV rays will be even more dangerous when at the beach, as they reflect off the sand and water.