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Kids Health Pānui

This e-newsletter has information about child/tamariki health issues for Early Childhood Education Services staff across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts.  This newsletter is sent once per term.  If you would like to subscribe, fill in your details here.

17 July 2019

Kids Health Panui

This edition covers managing winter illnesses, ways to support World Breastfeeding Week, food allergy awareness and the preschool public health nursing service.

Managing winter illness

In winter, illnesses are common and this year is no exception. The common cold, influenza and stomach bugs are frequent causes of winter ailments.

Influenza and the common cold

Influenza and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell them apart. The table below compares the symptoms of the two illnesses.


Common cold

Sudden onset of moderate to severe illness

Mild illness

Fever (usually high)

Mild fever

Headache (may be severe)

Mild headache (congested sinuses)

Dry cough - may become moist

Sometimes a cough

Muscle aches

Muscle aches are uncommon


A runny nose

Bed rest necessary


Can suffer severe complications


Below are some tips to manage winter illnesses at your ECE centre.

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of reducing the spread of colds and influenza. To keep your ECE centre safe and healthy teach children to: 

  • wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds;

  • dry hands with a clean, dry towel or paper towel for 20 seconds. 

Make frequent hand hygiene a rule for everyone especially:

  • before cooking and eating

  • after using the bathroom

  • after touching animals, including family pets

  • after playing outside 

Check out these handwashing resource packs (including a story book, activities, posters and stickers).

Cough and sneeze etiquette

Encourage children to practice good cough and sneeze etiquette. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or coughing or sneezing into your elbow. 

Dispose of tissues in a lined rubbish bin and ensure children wash and dry hands immediately after coughing, sneezing or handling used tissues. 

Read more on cough and sneeze etiquette.


Gastroenteritis (stomach bugs)

Gastroenteritis causes nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, tummy cramps and pain. People suffering from typical viral gastroenteritis recover within five to seven days.

Viral gastroenteritis is highly contagious and the virus can be spread for at least two days after diarrhoea or vomiting stops. Exclude unwell children and/or staff until symptom free for 48 hours.

Implement enhanced hand hygiene for staff, children and parents/whānau if there is an outbreak of gastroenteritis at your ECE centre.

For further information about infectious diseases, view the Ministry of Health Infectious diseases chart.


Sickness policy

The best place for sick children and staff is at home. Having a policy on illness helps to ensure that staff and parents have a clear understanding of when children should stay at home.

Support World Breastfeeding Week 

World Breastfeeding Week is an annual worldwide event held the first week of August which aims to promote the health benefits of breastfeeding and normalise breastfeeding as part of everyday life.  This year’s theme is about working together to empower parents and enable breastfeeding, now and for the future! 

Breastfeeding is a team effort.  The World Breastfeeding Week logo shows a trio of two adults and an infant, flanked on both sides by the wider community who help protect the family.  A warm chain of support can create an enabling environment that empowers mothers to breastfeed. When mothers have close support from fathers, partners, families, workplaces and communities breastfeeding rates improve. 

During World Breastfeeding Week, Big Latch On Events are held around the world where women gather to simultaneously breastfeed in public.  Toi Te Ora Public Health supports the Big Latch On and recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months and then continue to breastfeed along with the introduction of solid foods. 

How can you support breastfeeding mothers?

  • Provide a comfortable space for mothers to breastfeed or express milk 
  • Encourage mothers to download the BreastfedNZ App 
  • Encourage fathers/spouses as equal partners on the parenting team.  Encourage them to learn about breastfeeding, provide emotional support, share tasks around the house, and care and play with their children
  • Provide support for breastfeeding staff. Provide breastfeeding breaks and a private space for staff to breastfeed and express.
  • Support breastfeeding mothers returning to work.  Provide them a copy of the Breastfeeding and Working Brochure and encourage them to ask their employer for support 
  • Promote Big Latch On Events being held during the first week of August and encourage mums and their friends and whānau to attend
  • Watch and share this five minute video - “How you can Help Support a Breastfeeding Mum” 
  • Contact a breastfeeding friendly advisor to become Breastfeeding Friendly Accredited (receive support to develop a breastfeeding policy, staff training and free breastfeeding signage).

Food Allergy Awareness

Fact: Food allergy affects 1 in 10 children under five*

But did you know it is rare for a child to develop an allergy to a food they have previously eaten without problems?

What’s the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?

  • A food allergy is an exaggerated immune system response to a food protein. Reactions usually happen within minutes of eating a food that contains the allergen. Symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, and in some cases anaphylaxis (which can be life-threatening).

  • A food intolerance is an adverse reaction to certain foods, not involving the immune system. Reactions can be immediate or happen up to 20 hours after a food is eaten. Symptoms can include (but are not limited to) bloating, wind, diarrhoea, nausea and indigestion.

It is important that all early childcare centres and schools are prepared to provide care for children
at risk of severe allergic reactions. The Allergy and Anaphylaxis Guidelines for early childhood
services and schools
provide a vital resource for childcare centres to ensure appropriate precautions are in place.

Te Aka Mauri - Rotorua Childrens' Hub Eczema/Skin Clinic

We are excited to be opening an Eczema/Skin clinic from mid-June at Te Aka Mauri-Rotorua Childrens' hub. We will be accepting referrals from any health professional for children aged 1-12 years of age. The clinic will be based around education of eczema or reoccurring skin conditions.

Our aim is to create an eczema care plan for the child/family while engaging with the primary health care provider. Education will be based on best practice guidelines using the Lakes District Health Board eczema pathway for children that we have developed.

Contact Jane Seath for more information:

Preschool public health nursing service

For the Bay of Plenty District

In the Bay of Plenty, ECE services have a Preschool Public Health Nurse (PPHN) available for you to access. We work with children and their families around a wide range of health issues such as behavioural, toileting, developmental and social issues.

We also help children whose needs are not being met by other services, or who need reconnecting with appropriate services.

You can contact your Preschool Public Health Nurse at Community Health 4 Kids on (07) 577 3383 for Tauranga or (07) 306 0944 in Whakatāne. You can also make a referral directly to

For further information on this service in the Bay of Plenty please refer to the blue Preschool Public Health Nurse Service Folder in your preschool centre.

For the Lakes district

A registered nurse is happy to take calls and queries regarding health concerns and point preschool teachers in the right direction if she is unable to assist you herself. The phone number for the Preschool Public Health Nurse in Rotorua is 0800 MYNURSE.

You can also contact the Well Child Nurses at Rotorua and Taupō Plunket, Tipu Ora in Rotorua and Tuwharetoa Health Services in Taupō/Turangi.


The aim of the Kids' Health Pānui e-newsletter is to provide information about child/tamariki health issues to staff of Early Childhood Education Services (ECE Services) across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts. This health information can then be passed on to parents and whānau via your own ECE Service newsletters.

Kids' Health Pānui is sent to ECE Services once per term and is brought to you by Toi Te Ora Public Health. For more information about our service visit our website, Facebook or Twitter.

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Last modified: 05 Mar 2019
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