School and Illness
School and Illness: Should Your Child Stay Home when Sick? If your child shows symptoms of sickness, you need to determine whether it is safe for them to go to school or stay home. While it seems like a simple decision, if your child is sick, they shouldn’t go to school or daycare. However, if it is a sore muscle, is it practical to keep the child at home?
For working parents, this is always a difficult choice. Hence, to make it simple, here is a list of symptoms which can help you make a wise decision.
If your child has any of these, they must stay at home.
- Your child seems to be very tired and needs bed rest, especially with symptoms of flu
- Your child has diarrhea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath. If your child is wheezing
- Dry cough or an uncontrollable cough that disrupts their regular activity
- Your child has an earache, sore throat, headache, or recent injury
- Sore eyes or pink eye
- Your child breaks out in a rash. However, not all rashes require that a child stay home from school, so check with your doctor.
Among the other things that you must consider to ensure proper health for your kids, you must also consider dietary changes and exercise.
List of symptoms that mean your child must stay home
Any temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit (38° Centigrade) is a fever, which means children shouldn’t go to school. Fevers are a sign of infection and compromised immunity, so it is not safe to send them to school as you cannot know if their health will get better or worse if attend school. Also, while medicines may bring the fever down, the infection may be contagious and put other children’s health at risk.
Most schools have a policy stating that a child should be fever-free for at least 24 hours before attending school. What to do if your child has a temperature of 99.9 or 100? Officially, that is not considered to be a fever. But, you might be called by the school to pick up your child if they have a temperature of 100, as it is considered to be a sign of potential fever. Hence, it is safer to keep your child home and keep an eye on them if they are showing symptoms of fever.
Vomiting or diarrhea
If a child is experiencing diarrhea and vomiting, they shouldn’t be sent to school. Continuous vomiting and diarrhea may also leave them dehydrated, so make sure that they drink plenty of water. The same 20–24-hour rule that applied to fever applies here as well. However, it is worth checking with your pediatrician for advice. Certain viruses can be contagious, even if it’s for an extra day. In such conditions, you don’t want to be the one responsible for an outbreak of the virus at the school.
Bad body ache
If your child has a mild headache or sore muscles in the feet or hands but otherwise seems okay, it is fine to give them some medicine and send them off to school. However, if the pain is more than just mild, don’t send them to school. Pain is something you might want to keep an eye on. In such situations, you must keep them home and consult with a doctor.
Continuous coughing or abnormal breathing
If everyone kept their children at home during the winter months, we would witness empty schools! So, coughing as a symptom of not sending your child should be considered if:
- It is continuous, causes extreme discomfort and hampers the child’s ability to learn and play. Here, immediate treatment is required.
- Labored breathing accompanied by dry coughing is another sign that you shouldn’t ignore. This too requires immediate treatment.
If you’re unsure, call your doctor for advice, as it is better to be safe than sorry when it’s about the health of your child and other children at school.
A contagious disease spreads by close contact with other people. For example, chickenpox, flu, cold, as well as hand foot and mouth disease which is prevalent nowadays in many parts of India. In this case, it is very important to ensure your child is at home.
A disease may be contagious even before the child starts showing its symptoms. This would make it very hard to prevent the spread of germs, especially in a school classroom. However, practices like washing hands from time to time and improving hygiene will prevent the spread of germs.
As a parent, you must remember that attending school regularly is very important for the growth and development of your child. Continuous absence from school might make it harder for them to keep up with their studies. Hence, it is important to keep a constant check on their overall health, ensure that they eat healthily and perform routine exercises, which can help strengthen their immunity.
Disclaimer – This is a Guest Post.