Bupa Report Reveals That Half of all UK Parents Send Children To School When Ill

By Bupa, PRNE
Monday, October 25, 2010

LONDON, October 26, 2010 - Bupa has revealed that fever, diarrhoea or vomiting are not enough to
stop British parents sending their offspring to school. New research from the
Bupa 'How Are You Britain?' report reveals half of all parents in the UK
admit to sending their children to school or nursery when they are feeling
poorly and this isn't just limited to the sniffles, with 17% saying
contagious illnesses such as diarrhoea and vomiting (13%) are not reason
enough to keep their children at home.

The number one reason cited by two thirds of parents for sending poorly
kids to school was the belief they would start to perk up once there,
followed by 19% not having other childcare options and then work commitments
(18%). In a vicious cycle, parents are sending their kids into class when
unwell but over two thirds (68%) also complain that bugs caught from
classmates are the number one reason for their little ones falling ill.

Almost a third of all parents (30%) say they have experienced feelings of
guilt when their young ones are sick and feel that they are somehow to blame.
Topping the table for parental guilt is concern that their kids are not
getting enough sleep (23%) followed closely by their diet not being balanced
and nutritious enough (17%). A further 14% of parents worry they don't dress
their children appropriately for the weather.

Guilt around lifestyle issues aside, many parents don't feel equipped to
decide whether poorly kids should be sent to school, and official medical
guidance it seems is not getting through. In fact, two in five would keep
their children home if they had conjunctivitis, which the Health Protection
Agency advises is unnecessary.

Bupa (www.bupa.co.uk/) Health and Wellbeing medical director, Dr.
Annabel Bentley, said: "Parents should keep children with vomiting and
diarrhoea off school or nursery for 48 hours to protect other children's
health. For conjunctivitis, which is usually viral, medical guidance is that
a child can go to school or nursery."

The findings also revealed that for over half (55%) of parents the
biggest pressure they faced was how to devote enough time to their children.
With a further 38% concerned about their work life balance.

Notes to editors:

These finding are taken from the third chapter of the Bupa 'How Are You
Britain?' report, a year-long study using a variety of research techniques to
understand the ongoing health and well being of the nation. Research for this
chapter was conducted amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,042
parents by Fly Research between 27th and 31st August 2010.

About Bupa:

Bupa's purpose is to help people lead longer, healthier, happier lives. A
leading international healthcare group, Bupa offers personal and company
health insurance, runs care homes for older people and hospitals, and
provides workplace health (
www.bupa.co.uk/business/all-business/workplace-health) services,
health assessments (
www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/keeping-well/health-assessments), corporate
health and wellness, seasonal flu vaccines (
www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/keeping-well/flu-vaccinations) and chronic
disease management services, including health coaching, and home healthcare.

With no shareholders, Bupa invests its profits to provide more and better
healthcare. Bupa is committed to making quality, patient-centred, affordable
healthcare more accessible in the areas of wellness, chronic disease
management and ageing.

Employing over 50,000 people, Bupa has operations around the world,
principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, New Zealand and the USA, as well as
Hong Kong, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, India, China and across Latin America.

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