Saskatoon Naturopathic Doctor Naomi Whelan shares some useful information about prevention, identification and treatment of classroom bugs like lice, pinworms, pink eye and the flu:

classroom bugs saskatoon elementary school kids getting on a school bus

Creepy Critters in the Classroom

Unfortunately, when children have been back in school for a few weeks we see an increase in the spread of certain infections.  There are many conventional and natural treatments to help speed recovery, while some simply require rest and time. Early detection and prevention can go a long way to preventing parental headaches and sick days.

Common classroom bugs and critters to watch for:


Oh, the dreaded notification of a lice outbreak…

How to check for lice

Part hair in multiple areas with a fine comb and use a bright to check for brown, sesame seed sized bugs.  There may also be small nits attached to the hairs.

Lice Treatment

Whether you opt for a pharmaceutical shampoo or a natural remedy, make sure you comb thoroughly and daily.

Laundry should be washed with hot water and dried on the hot air settings regularly throughout treatment. has a location in Saskatoon with everything you need to treat lice.


Keep an eye out for itchy bottoms.  Pinworms are most active during the early morning and at bedtime.  This pesky little worm is spread via the fecal-oral route but can also be spread through clothing, toys and bedding.

Pinworm Treatment

Hygiene and laundry are a vital part of treatment. There are many effective, natural treatments for pinworm but often the entire family– and house- need to be treated to completely eliminate this parasite.

immune support photo -mom with son on way to schoolPink Eye

This one can spread like wildfire both at school and at home.  Hygiene is of utmost importance through hand washing and laundering pillows and pillowcases.

Pink Eye Treatment

Eye drops should be started as soon as possible. There are even some OTC options available now while you wait to see your MD or ND.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Initial symptoms may include fever, fatigue, drooling, tender throat with sores in and around the mouth, and on the hands and feet. Blisters elsewhere on the body are also possible. This virus is most common in children under 5 but it is possible for older children and adults to become infected. Symptoms will usually show up within 3 to 6 days of infection.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Treatment

It is important to make sure your little one stays hydrated and fed. Rest and fruit smoothie popsicles can keep them comfortable while they recover.

Rotovirus (stomach flu)

Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever are typical within 2 days of exposure to rotavirus.

Rotovirus (stomach flu) treatment

Keep them hydrated with electrolyte enriched fluid or popsicles. Watch for signs of dehydration such as decreased urination, muscle cramps, dizziness and agitation.  Probiotics may shorten the duration of illness.

School Kids – Health Tips

  1. Support your children’s immune system with a balanced diet and restful sleep.
  2. Encourage regular hand washing and keep them home to rest when possible.
  3. Always seek emergency care if your child has a high fever that lasts more than 2 days, develops a sudden rash or severe headache, develops a stiff neck, has shortness of breath, mental confusion, persistent vomiting, seizures, or sensitivity to light.

If you are unsure, always seek guidance from your family physician.

If you have ongoing concerns about your child’s immune system, book them in for a check-up with your Naturopathic Doctor for strategies in keeping them healthy this school year.