It’s 7:30 in the morning. Coffee in one hand, keys in the other. You’re ready to head out the door when you hear, “I’m sick.” Yep, your little one has a warm forehead and sniffles. Should he or she stay home today?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children don’t attend school or childcare if:
- Their illness keeps them from participating comfortably in activities
- Their illness requires a level of care teachers or childcare providers are unable to provide
- Their illness could be contagious
“For most common cold viruses, you are contagious as long as you have symptoms, at minimum one week but up to two,” says Christine Liu, MD, family medicine physician on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. Dr. Liu says if your child has a cold or a cough, he or she is likely well enough to attend school or childcare, as long as there’s no fever.
If your child does have a fever but otherwise feels fine, check with your school or childcare center’s policy. Some places require children to wait at least 24 hours after a fever has broken without the use of medicine or after they have vomited before returning to school or childcare.
Keep ‘em at home
Children who appear severely ill and have the following symptoms should always stay home from school or daycare:
- a rash with a fever
If your child experiences any of these signs of illness, contact his or her pediatrician.
Read about what to do when a cough is more than a cough.