Seven reasons to know when to keep your child home from school
Knowing when to keep a child home from school due to illness can be a difficult decision.
There seems to be more incentive than ever before for students to avoid absences, but that is not always in the student’s best interest, or of those around them.
There are definitely common conditions and illnesses that should result in the child remaining at home, rather than risk becoming sicker or infecting other students.
Below are six instances when a student should stay home from school.
Children with bacterial or viral conjunctivitis may be contagious until the redness and itching are gone. In cases where the condition is viral, antibiotic eye drops won’t help. The only cure for viral pinkeye is time. Children shouldn’t go back to school until their eye is no longer red.
The stomach flu is typically viral and can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. Those symptoms should be gone for 24 hours before a child goes back to school.
Steady or Hacking Cough
A child who has a moderate to severe persistent cough, or who is experiencing coughing fits, should stay home. Children with minor coughs are typically ok to go to school, but the child should practice good coughing hygiene, such as coughing into a tissue or their elbow and washing hands frequently.
Most schools ask parents to keep children home if they have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and will often require children to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning. This is a good policy. The fever itself isn’t contagious or a bad thing, but it causes fatigue and requires rest for the child to fully recover.
Strep throat is definitely contagious. Children who have been diagnosed with strep throat should be treated with antibiotics, which need to be in the system for at least 24 hours before the child is considered to not be infectious.
A child who has live head lice shouldn’t return to school until they’ve undergone lice treatment, and there are no live bugs in the hair.
Rashes can be a sign of contagious illnesses like chickenpox or bacterial meningitis. Keep your child home until she’s been diagnosed. Your student can head back to the classroom after her symptoms are gone and the doctor gives the OK.
The most important thing is to trust yourself because no one knows your kids better than you do. If your child has the sniffles but hasn’t slowed down at home, chances are they’re well enough for the classroom.
But if they’ve been coughing all night and has a hard time getting up in the morning, it may be a good idea to take it easy at home.
Finally, if you think your child is too ill to go to school, don’t hesitate to contact your family physician.
Jeni Carson is a Community Nurse at Polk Medical Center.