IS MY CHILD TOO SICK TO COME TO SCHOOL?
This is a question many of us ask ourselves when our children exhibit signs of illness. We do like to stress that school attendance is important, and for our children to learn, they need to be here. But, if your child is ill and feeling miserable, he/she cannot learn and may possibly be contagious to others. Below I have listed a guide that you can follow whenever your child is ill and you are unsure if he/she should attend school or not that day. These guidelines are adapted from the Missouri Department of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
FEVER: If your child has a fever of 100 degrees or more, keep him/her home. The child needs to be fever free for 24 hours WITHOUT giving Tylenol or Motrin before returning to school. Also, do not give a sick child Aspirin when ill because of the risk of developing Reye’s Syndrome.
SEVERE COUGH/ COLD SYMPTOMS: If your child has a bad, persistent cough that is hard for him/her to control, it is a good idea to stay home and possibly see a doctor. If the cough improves, and the child is feeling better, then it is ok to return to school.
PINK EYE/CONJUCTIVITIS: Pink eye is highly contagious, and can cause a virus, bacteria, or allergies. Usually with a viral or bacterial infection, there will be a crusted yellowish or greenish drainage first thing in the morning, the white part of the eye (sclera) will be very red, and your child will complain of burning or itching. If your child has these symptoms, keep them home until a doctor determines the cause is bacterial and prescribes antibiotic eye drops, your child can return to school 24 hours after treatment begins.
VOMITING/DIARRHEA: Keep your child home until he/she is free from vomiting/diarrhea for 24 hours.
SORE THROAT: If the sore throat is severe, beefy red, swollen tonsils, or there are blister-like spots, the child should stay home and see a doctor. He/she could have tonsillitis or strep throat. If your doctor starts the child on antibiotics, he/she can return to school 24 hours after the antibiotic was started.
EAR ACHES: School attendance is fine. If your child is given an antibiotic for an infection, make sure he/she takes all the prescribed doses and finishes taking the medication, even if he/she starts to feel better.
HAND WASHING: As always, proper hand washing is the key to preventing illness and infection. Using hand sanitizer between washings is fine, but should not replace soap and warm water. Wash for at least 20 seconds, scrub between fingers, underneath nails, and at the wrist area. Wash whenever hands are visibly soiled, after using the restroom, before eating/drinking, and periodically throughout the day.
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