One of the problems most often confronting parents of school age children occurs when a child complains of not feeling well on a school day. A decision must be made as to whether the child should remain at home or go to school. How do you make the right decision? You don’t want to keep your child home if he or she isn’t really sick, but you also don’t want to send a sick child to school.
The following is an excerpt from an article by Lorraine Stern, M.D., entitled “Your Child’s Health.” This article offers parents some answers to commonly asked questions: “Is your child sick – or sick of school?
Question: When is a stomachache not an illness?
Answer: When it only occurs on school days.
Question: When is a temperature a reason to keep a child home from school?
Answer: When the temperature is 100 degrees or greater.
It is better for a child to learn to cope with minor illness or face anxieties than to avoid school because of minor complaints. If a child does stay home, be firm and don’t hesitate to impose such rules as no video games, no friends over after school, no running around, and no leaving the house for work or other activities on the day they missed school. It is important that rules regarding school attendance be consistent. Your child also needs to know what to expect. Rules, routines, and consistent discipline will help him or her feel secure. It’s important that the student understands the rules you set and that the rules work well for the entire family.”
GENERAL HEALTH GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW:
Keep your child at home when:
1. He/she has a fever of 100 degrees or greater – your child may return to school after being fever-free for a full 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
2. He/she is vomiting or has diarrhea – your child may return to school if there is no vomiting or diarrhea for a full 24 hours.
3. He/she has an earache – your child may return to school after being seen by a physician for evaluation and has begun any necessary treatment.
4. He/she has a persistent sore throat or a hacking cough - your child may return to school after being seen by a physician for evaluation and has begun any necessary treatment.
5. He/she has generalized body aches, fatigue, and appears pale in color – your child may return to school when rested and feeling stronger.
6. He/she has an itchy red eye with drainage – your child may return to school after being seen by a physician, received prescribed treatment for 24 hours, and submits a physician note to the Health Office indicating the student is no longer contagious.
7. He/she has a rash - your child may return to school after being seen by a physician, received prescribed treatment for 24 hours, and submits a physician note to the Health Office indicating the student is no longer contagious.
If your child complains of a stomachache, headache or minor sore throat and has no other symptoms, he may go to school. The school will notify you if your child’s condition changes. Unnecessary absence from school often has a negative effect on your child’s attitude, work habits, and academic progress. Using common sense and remembering that sick children belong at home and well children belong at school will help in achieving overall academic success.
Please feel free to call the Health Office at 630-876-6245 if you have any questions or concerns.
Beth A Jones, RN, NCSN, IL CSN
Information in this document is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. The information in this document should not be used for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. If you suspect your child has a medical problem, promptly contact your professional health care provider.