Angie's List: When to keep a sick kid at home
Last Updated: 282 days ago
A sniffling, coughing, achy child can be a conundrum for parents. Where do you draw the line between keeping them at home (and, possibly, taking off work to take care of them) and sending them to school?
- Keep an eye on the thermometer. A temperature of 100 or above should warrant heavy consideration for bed patrol and plenty of fluids.
- Make sure they can keep down food and drinks. Vomiting and/or diarrhea can be telltale signs of the flu in children. The flu is highly contagious, and should be checked by a doctor as soon as symptoms appear.
- Watch their energy level. “Healthy children learn better,” says Amy Garcia, Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses. Excessive tiredness, lack of appetite or achiness won’t make for an abundantly productive school day.
- Don’t load up on medicines. The FDA recently voted that no data supports the use of cough and cold medicines in children between the ages of two to six, and that these products should never be given to children under the age of two.
- Take sore throats seriously. A minor sore throat is common, but a severely sore throat could be a sign of strep throat, even if there is no fever. Be on the lookout for headaches and upset stomach, which can also be signs of strep. If you notice multiple symptoms, consult your doctor.
- Don’t ship them back to school too soon. Keep sick kids home until they’ve gone 24 hours without a fever (without medication). Returning to school too soon can hamper the recovery process and expose their classmates to germs.
- Know your company’s policies. You may need to consider telecommuting or finding a relative or sitter to stay with your sick child if you can’t take the time (or afford to take time) off work.
- Plan in advance: Before the cold and flu season hit, get flu shots for the whole family to help prevent unnecessary illness.
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