Sending a sick kid to school

Admit it! We have all sent our kids to school even though they are sick. Sometimes there are important things going on in the classroom. There might be a big test, a final project due or a report to turn in. Don’t feel bad, again, we have all done it. However, how do you decide when your child is too sick for school?

Of course, symptoms play a big role in many parents’ decision-making process. Stomach-related issues like vomiting and diarrhea are more likely to warrant a sick day. Colds are where things get a bit more murky. Every parent knows children can be coughing with a runny nose, but bouncing off the walls with energy. So, it’s hard to justify keeping them home.

At a certain point, you have to start thinking about the rest of the classroom too. You don’t want your kid to infect the entire class if they have a virus. You also don’t want to go overboard and keep them home every time he or she coughs. Illness is a tough line to walk, especially for working parents.

Right now we are in the thick of flu season. So here are some symptoms to look for to dictate when your child should stay home from school:

Fever: Any time your child has a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s too high for your child to go to school. Not only are fevers a sign of some sort of infection, it also usually means that they are shedding germs right and left. There’s just no way you can know whether things will get better or worse, and while giving them medicine might bring the fever down, it won’t stop them from being contagious.

If your child has a temp of 99.9 or 100, while it’s not officially a fever, it could be a sign that something is brewing inside of their bodies. It’s suggested that you make your decision based on how your child is acting. If they are acting sick, keeping them home and keeping an eye on them might be a good idea.

Vomiting or diarrhea: It’s unfair to your child and the school or daycare to send them to school with diarrhea or vomiting no matter how well they might look to you. There is a 24 hour rule that applies to this. Though it’s worth checking with your doctor for advice. Some viruses, such as norovirus, can be contagious for an extra day or so. You do NOT want to be the parent responsible for an outbreak of norovirus at your school or daycare.

Bad pain: If your child has a sore knee or a mild headache but is otherwise acting okay, it’s likely fine to give some medicine and send them off. But if the pain is anything more than mild, don’t do it. Pain is always something you want to keep an eye on. Keep them home and call your doctor instead.

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