Should your sick kid stay home?
How to know if you should keep your child home from school if he is sick
Have you ever debated whether or not to keep your child home from school? Sometime it can be difficult to decipher when to let your child take a day off and when to send him to school even when he is feeling a little off. Some illnesses are contagious, some are not. How do you know the difference? What’s more, some kids know how to play the "sick card" all too well. It’s time to find out once and for all – who stays home and who goes to school?
School or no school?
There are a number of signs you should look for in your sick child to decide whether or not they should spend the day in bed:
A fever over 101 degrees
Once the fever has gone down to a normal temperature it is safe to send your kid back to school. A slight fever is usually nothing to worry about and doesn’t require a doctor’s visit, as it is the body’s way of destroying the germs and flushing the a head cold or a chest cold out. However, it is a symptom of the flu, so watch for other cold symptoms or flu symptoms as well!
If your child seems exhausted, run down, or burnt out. They most likely won’t get much out of school if you think they won’t be able to fully participate or engage.
A contagious illness
If his or her illness is contagious, do not send them to school. This will avoid other students or teachers getting sick as well! If you are unsure if the illness is contagious or not, it is a good idea to keep your child home until you can take a visit to the doctor and know for sure. Symptoms of contagious illnesses include:
- Severe cough: A cough could be a sign of whooping cough, croup, a chest cold, or viral bronchitis.
- Sore throat: A sore throat can be a sign of strep throat. After antibiotics start for strep, keep your child home for 24 hours.
- Rashes: Signs of chickenpox, impetigo, or meningitis. Once diagnosed, wait until symptoms have gone before returning to school.
- Pinkeye: Keep child home for 24 hours after medication begins.
If your child is vomiting (more than two times in one day) or unable to keep food down, keep them home and in bed! Vomiting is another way the body rids of an infection, often the stomach flu. Send them back to school once the symptoms have subsided, or if it is due to a contagious illness, wait until the doctor gives you the okay.
Keep your child home if they have diarrhea; keep the liquids flowing all day long, and don’t return your child back to school until stool has returned to normal. This is usually a reaction due to antibiotics, bad food, or infection.
When to see a doctor
As always, if your child's symptoms are long-lasting or very severe, it is important for them to see a doctor. Also remember that if your child misses a lot of school, they will most likely need a note from the doctor anyway.
What to do next
Using these tips, it should be a little easier to tell whether or not to keep your child home from school if they are complaining that they are sick. The most important thing to do is to use your parental instinct - only you know your child well enough to know if they should be at home or at school.