When to Keep Children Home from School

It can certainly be a dilemma for parents who have a sick child. Many parents have no idea when they need to keep their child home from daycare or school or when the child is well enough to participate in all activities. While a few sniffles are certainly expected in nearly any school setting, certain symptoms should always keep a child at home. Here is a look at what symptoms are all right for most schools and others that warrant a day at home or even a trip to the pediatrician.

Identifying Symptoms of Illnesses

Children who just have mild symptoms are generally okay for going to school. For example, if they have the sniffles, some sinus congestion or a minor cough, they should be able to make it through the school day just fine. This also goes for a single bout of vomiting and mild diarrhea or stomach aches without additional symptoms. In general, if the child is still out of bed and acting normally, he or she can head to school.

However, some symptoms are immediate signs that the child should be kept back. The most obvious one is a temperature of greater than 100.4 degrees. A fever may need to be treated, and the child should be fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to school. In addition, children who have vomited multiple times, who are too tired to act like themselves, or who have a red eye with yellow or green discharge must be kept home. Stomachaches with additional symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting are cause for concern as well. Children who have blood in the stool or who have sharp stomach pain should be taken to the pediatrician or to an urgent care facility.

Even with all of these specifications, it may still be difficult for parents to make this judgment call. However, there is something to be said for a parent’s gut feeling of how sick the child truly is. Parents know what is normal for a child and can sense when something seems off.

Of course, parents should check with their schools to determine what symptoms are not allowed. For example, most schools do not allow children with pinkeye until symptoms abate completely. In addition, Dr. Matney can help parents who live in the Victorville, California, area to know if their children should come in for a same-day appointment.
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