When it’s time to miss school or childcare.
Deciding if your child is well enough to go to school or childcare can be very tricky.
Many well-intentioned parents have sent their child to school with some tissues and a dose of ibuprofen, only to receive a come-get-your-child phone call in the middle of their workday. To aid you in deciding whether to keep your child at home due to illness, many schools and childcare facilities have clear policies about evaluating symptoms.
Children under eight years old have an immature immune system, and may typically catch six to ten colds per year. According to the Mayo Clinic, the top four infectious illnesses that keep kids home from school or childcare are colds, a stomach virus, pink eye and strep throat.
A general rule is that children should stay home when they don’t feel well enough to participate in normal activities, are too tired to learn and play, are extremely irritable or have persistent crying.
So trust your instincts — you know your child best. Kids who are clingy or lethargic and complain of pain, or who just are not acting like themselves, should probably remain at home. Symptoms that would keep your child at home include:
- A temperature of 100.5 or higher
- Rapid, uncontrolled coughing or difficulty breathing
- Vomiting twice or more in 24 hours
- More than four bouts of diarrhea in one hour
- Persistent abdominal pain (more than two hours)
- Open sores in the mouth
- A skin rash or red eye that appears overnight
There are other contagious conditions such as strep throat, chicken pox or impetigo that your child’s health care provider may need to diagnose and treat.
Here is a chart to help you determine whether or not to keep your child at home, based on the top-ten list of symptoms: