When to Miss School

If your child says he/she doesn’t feel well, ask yourself, “If she were healthy, would I want her near someone with these symptoms?”Robert Hoekelman, M.D., contributing editor of The Merck Manual of Medical Information – Home Edition, offers these guidelines to help you decide when to keep your child at home. If symptoms persist after 24 hours, or worsen, call your pediatrician.

 

Symptom

Keep your child home if:

Fever

He/she has a morning temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or her temperature is below 100 but she is achy, pale or tired

Stomach Ache

He/she has had two or more episodes of vomiting or diarrhea, or has had one in the past 24 hours and feels tired or ill

Sneezing or Runny Nose

He/she is sneezing a lot, and his/her nose won’t stop running

Sore Throat

He/she has tender, swollen glands and a fever of 100 or higher

Cough

He/she coughs frequently, coughs up phlegm, or the cough sounds like a bark of is accompanied by a sore throat or wheezing

Ear Ache

His/her pain is constant or severe – a sign of otitis media

Rash

The rash blisters, develops pus, or is uncomfortable, which signals chicken pox of impetigo

 

Sick children seldom, if ever, gain anything by attending school. They are much better off at home where they are most likely to get the necessary care for recovery and early return to school. Keeping ill children at home also protects other children, their family, and the school staff from infection.

 

A child must be kept home at least 24 hours after a fever and 24 hours after starting antibiotics.

 

For children who need to take medication at school, send an authorization form signed by a parent and the health care provider with the medication.

 

 

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