The main reasons for keeping your child home are:
--- too sick to be comfortable at school.
--- your child might spread the sickness to other children.
Your child should stay at home if they have:
--A fever higher than 100.0^F
--Vomited more than once
--Persistent pain (ear, stomach, etc)
--A widespread rash
Most of these problems need to be discussed with your child's doctor to know if an office visit is needed. (If your child has frequent complaints of pain that cause school absence, you should consider that your child may be avoiding school. Talk with their Doctor before too many days have been missed.)
On the other hand, children who do not have a fever and only have a mild cough, runny nose or other cold symptoms can be sent to school without any harm to themselves or others.
A runny nose is the way children respond to pollen, dust or a cold virus. Minor cold or allergy symptoms should not be a reason to miss school. Many healthy children have as many as six colds per year, especially in the early school years.
Coughing, especially if it is persistent during the day, can be a sign that a cold or allergy symptoms is getting worse. It may be a sign of a secondary infection (e.g., sinusitis, pneumonia), which may require medical treatment.
Diarrhea and Vomiting make children very uncomfortable. A single episode of diarrhea is likely enough to keep your child at home. It could be very embarrassing and uncomfortable for your child to have another episode while in school. If diarrhea or vomiting are frequent or are accompanied by fever, rash or general weakness, consult your child's doctor and keep him out of school until the illness passes. Children with diarrhea or vomiting should stay home until they are symptom free for 24 hours.
Fever (generally considered to be higher than 100.0 ) is an important symptom, especially when it occurs along with a sore throat, nausea or rash. Your child may have an illness that could be passed to classmates and teachers. While you can treat the fever and usually make the child feel better temporarily, the cause of the fever (and the risk of passing it to others) is still there. Children with fever should stay home until there is not a fever for 24 hours. Children should not be given Tylenol or Advil (ibuprofen) to reduce the fever and then sent to school. The child may be highly contagious to others.
Strep throat and scarlet fever are two highly contagious conditions caused by the same bacterial infection. They usually arrive with sudden sore throat and fever and often stomachache and headache. With scarlet fever, a rash usually appears within 12 to 48 hours. A child with these symptoms should see their doctor and should stay home until they are fever free and has been on antibiotics for 24 hours.
Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergy. The first two are very contagious. The eye will be red, and a cloudy or yellow discharge is usually present. The eye may be sensitive to light. Consult your child's doctor to see if antibiotic eye drops are needed. Again, your child should stay home until symptoms subside and has been on antibiotic eye drops at least 24 hours or until the doctor recommends your child can return to school.
Middle ear infections can cause great discomfort and often fever, but are not contagious to others. Your child should see their doctor for diagnosis and treatment and should stay at home if there is fever or pain present.
Flu is a contagious virus that usually occurs in the winter months. Symptoms include body aches, high fever, chills, congestion, sore throat and , in some children, vomiting. Your child should stay home until these symptoms improve, usually five to seven days. Consult your child's doctor for treatment and suggestions to make your child more comfortable.
Lice are tiny wingless insects, like ticks, that thrive on the warm scalps of children and cause itching. Both should be treated immediately, with advice from your child's doctor. Children need to stay home from school until head lice are dead. Head checks should continue for 10 to 14 days after treatment. Caution your child against sharing combs, brushes, hats or other clothing.
All of these illnesses can be spread easily, both in school and in the family. Keep in mind that hand washing is the most important thing you and your child can do to help prevent and the spread of infections.
Make sure your child's school knows how to reach you during the day, and that there is a back-up plan and phone number on file if the school cannot reach you.