January 9th, 2020
Sometimes it’s a judgment call about when to keep a sick kid home or send them to school. Kids can’t stay home for every ache and pain, even though they might want to. But sending a legitimately sick kid to school could make matters worse. Here are some guidelines:
When to send them
- A common cold or runny nose.
- A cough not associated with a fever, rapid or difficult breathing, or wheezing.
- Pink eye after symptoms have faded or after 24 hours of treatment from a doctor.
- Watery, yellow or white discharge or crusting eye discharge without fever, eye pain or eyelid redness.
- A fever without any other symptoms. The AAP states: “A fever is an indication of the body’s response to something, but is neither a disease nor a serious problem by itself.” A fever is defined as a temperature above 101 degrees.
- A rash without fever and behavioral changes. (Exception: Call 911 for rapidly spreading bruising or small blood spots under the skin.)
- Lice, as long as the child has started treatment and has no live lice.
When to stay home
- A fever over 100° (Fahrenheit)
- For 24 hours after starting an antibiotic
- For 24 hours after symptoms of stomach flu have subsided (such as vomiting or diarrhea)
- A persistent cough or chest pain, or if your child is having a hard time swallowing
- An earache with persistent pain
- Crusty, draining and red eyes
- An unfamiliar rash, or a rash that hasn’t been examined by a doctor
- Any illness that prevents the child from participating comfortably in school activities.
- Vomiting more than two times in the past 24 hours.
- Abdominal pain that continues for more than two hours.
- Mouth sores with drooling that the child cannot control.
- A rash with fever or behavioral changes.
- Strep throat, until the child has two doses of antibiotic.
- Head lice, only if the child has not been treated or if there is live lice present.
- Chickenpox (varicella), until all lesions have dried or crusted.