When should you keep sick kids home from school?
Deciding whether a sick child should miss valuable class time can be a struggle for any parent, especially when the symptoms seem borderline. As a parent I can truly appreciate this dilemma. Keeping a sick child home means missing work and can possibly mean a costly trip to the doctor for which you may be told there is nothing that can be done. It can be very frustrating. My hope is to share some helpful guidelines to assist you, the parent, in making this decision.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these guidelines for when a sick child should stay home from school for rest, monitoring and a possible phone call to the doctor:
1) Persistent fever greater than 100.4 orally, including a fever that requires control with medication, like Tylenol.
2) Diarrhea, vomiting, or fever within the past 24 hours
3) Child is too sleepy or ill from an illness, like vomiting and or diarrhea, to profit from attending class all day.
4) Significant cough or nasal drainage that makes a child feel uncomfortable or disrupts the class.
5) A sore throat that is accompanied by feeling ill, fever or swollen glands or has persisted for longer than 48 hours.
6) An unexplained significant rash.
7) Honey crusted sores around the mouth and nose. 8) Red, runny, or crusty eyes.
Keeping a child home from school when they are not well enough to participate in class or may be contagious to others goes a long way in keeping every one healthy and safe at school. Whenever you are unsure about whether your child should stay home he school nurse's office can be an excellent resource for you. As part of your child's healthcare team, we do our best to work with you, your child's doctor, and the classroom staff to help keep your child in school as often as possible.
Please keep in mind that there will be times when it is necessary for us to send your child home from school due to illness and therefore it is important to keep current numbers on file with the health office. You must have a designated person who will be available to pick your child up from school.
Equally important to your child's health is letting either the school nurse or the classroom staff know when your child is being treated for a illness, starting a new medication, or has been to the emergency room for medical treatment. Make a habit of asking your doctor for a release allowing your child to return to school following emergency room visits, office visits for contagious illnesses and surgery so we can be sure that they can fully participate without any restrictions or limitations.
Finally, please know that I appreciate how hard it is to tell your kids that they need to stay home from school when they really want to go. However, this is a decision that parents must make based on the symptoms they are seeing. Please don't hesitate to call our health office at 218-2203. We are here to support you in making these decisions and can offer guidance when needed.
Gayle Vinette, RN Linda Ryan, LPN