When to Keep Your Child Home from School


Is your child's tummy ache a sign of the flu or just Monday morning moaning? Parents often face the difficult decision of whether to keep a child home from school. Experts advise sending a child to school only if he or she is well enough to learn. This means the child's symptoms do not disrupt his or her ability to concentrate in class and do not distract classmates, according to Dr. Cindy Devore M.D., a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on School Health Executive Committee.

If a parent suspects the child is faking the illness. Dr. Devore, suggests looking at the "total" child. Does the child usually complain of illness right after a break or weekend? DOes the child demonstrate behaviors like social isolation and mood swings that could suggest a bigger reason for avoiding school? Contacting your child's pediatrician can help determine whether symptoms are physicially or emotionally based.

Symptoms that may warrant a day at home or visit to the docotr include:

  • persistant fever (temperature higher than 100.4 degree Fahrenhuit when taken by mouth)

  • severe sore throat that lasts more than 48 hours, especially when accompanied by a fever

  • a significant rash, particularly when other symptoms are present

  • large amounts of discolored nasal discharge

  • severe ear pain

  • diarrhea

  • an uncontrolled cough

  • severe headache, especially with a fever

Parents can allow children to return to school after symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours.



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Dr. Somers' Blog

My blog is directed to parents of Trestlewood Pediatrics' patients in in order to give more insight into the way I think about health, as well as useful facts. My comments are shaped by my own personal experience in medicine (four years of medical school, four years pediatric residency, thirteen years general pediatric practice), motherhood (I have three daughters, ages 14, 11, and 8), published research in the field, as well as policies and recommendations from pediatric and medical organizations.

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