For the first day of school this year, my son brought ... a very congested cough. I could tell it was the kind of cough that would linger for the next two weeks, and he didn't have a fever or any other cold symptoms. So I had to make a call. I decided to send him to school anyway, with a reminder of how to cough politely. Every parent will face this dilemma at least once during the school year -- more likely a few times. Sometimes it's obvious, other times it's not such a clear call. How do you know when your child is too sick for school?
1. Your child has a fever. This is the biggest one. If your child's reading is 101 degrees or higher, keep them home. My son's school policy is that kids must be fever-free for 48 hours before returning to class.
2. Your child feels achy and lethargic. My first temptation is to just pump my kid full of children's ibuprofen and send him on his way. But these symptoms mean your child's body needs rest so it can focus on fighting that virus.
3. Your child has been vomiting or had diarrhea the night before. Sometimes they get it out of their system that way. But don't count on it! It may not be over -- and even if it's not, their bodies will need time to recover from the trauma.
4. Your child has just started antibiotics. Kids should be on antibiotics a full 24 hours before returning to school -- and then only if they are otherwise feeling well.
5. Your child has pinkeye. Unfortunately, conjunctivitis is most contagious before symptoms show. Still, it's highly contagious when symptoms show up, so do everyone a favor and keep your child home so it can clear.
6. A combination of symptoms. A headache on its own may not be cause for concern, but a headache with the sniffles and lethargy is. Same goes for a sore throat -- on its own, it could just from yelling the day before. But if it's accompanied with a fever, it could be strep. If your child is suffering from a combination of symptoms, it's a clear sign they need to stay home.
Are there any other signs that tell you your child is too sick for school?
Image via anna gutermuth/Flickr