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Too Sick for School?

For those of us with kids, it’s rare that a school year goes by without a sick day.  When you wake them up for school, and they say they don’t feel well, how do you respond?  Do you just let them sleep?  Do you take them to the doctor?  Is there a “right” way to react?  It might seem like a simple decision, that if your child doesn’t feel well, to let them stay home.  But for working parents, it can be a struggle to balance the day with a child at home.  More than that, they’re missing out on learning at school, and possibly falling behind on homework.

While this does not include every reason to keep your child home from school, it does cover actually four major symptoms to look out for that will make this decision much easier.  If your child has any of these, it’s a good decision to let them stay home. 

  • Fever – Any temperature that’s 100.4° or higher is a fever, and it’s not a good idea for children to be at school with a fever.  Fevers are usually a sign of some sort of infection, and it’s a good idea to wait until your child is free of a fever for 24 hours before they return to school.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea – This might be obvious, but if your child can’t keep food down, or has diarrhea, it’s best that they stay home that day.  This also stops them from spreading viruses to other children.  Again, if your child has been fine for 24 hours, it’s ok to send them back to school.
  • Severe Pain – If your child has a minor ache or mild pain, it’s ok to give them some medicine and send them to school.  However, if your child is in pain that would prevent them from participating in activities, or would leave them unable to concentrate, it’s best to keep them home and call your doctor, or go to the emergency room for severe pain.  
  • Persistent Cough or Mild Wheezing – If your child has a cough that won’t stop or is wheezing slightly, it’s best to keep them home and call your doctor immediately for instructions.

If you are ever confused about whether your child is too sick for school, it’s best to call your family doctor and schedule an appointment.  They’ll be able to answer any other questions you might have.


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