The all familiar cry of "I don't feel good" can send most any working mother into a panic. In addition to concern for your child, you know you only have a limited amount of time to decipher if the illness is real or a dramatic ploy to get out of taking a quiz in math class, before having to make the dreaded call to her boss saying you won't be in.
While a fever can be a good indicator that you should keep your child home from school, even children without a fever may have an illness lurking inside of them that would merit a day off from school. While the temperature cut off can vary from school to school, most schools ask that you not send your child in if she has a temperature greater than 100 degrees F.
In addition to running a fever, if your child has any of the following symptoms, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Maryland, suggests keeping your kids home from school:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pale or flushed face
- Persistent cough
- Thick yellowish discharge from nose
- Sore throat
- Rash or infection of the skin
- Red or pink eyes
- Loss of energy or decrease in activity
If you are still feeling unsure about whether or not to send your child to school, here is two important pieces of advice. First, always air on the side of caution and second, always trust your instincts. You know your child best and if she doesn't seem like herself, chances are, she'd benefit from spending the day at home.
Most schools require children to be fever and symptom free for 24 hours before returning to school. If you have questions about your child's school policy, contact the school office or nurse for additional information.
Remember that sending a sick child to school only spreads the illness around. When it comes to deciding if your child is too sick to go to school in the best interest of all, when in doubt, keep her out.