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“Should I Keep My Child Home Today?” Sick Day Pointers

“Should I Keep My Child Home Today?” Sick Day Pointers

Written By: Erin Fleming on August 27, 2019

If you’re like most parents, deciding when to keep your sniffly or sick child home from school or daycare can be a challenge.

You don’t want him to make others sick or get sicker himself. But multiple (sometimes complicated) factors come into play when deciding whether an illness is worth a sick day: How severe the symptoms seem to be, how much classroom time your child has already missed, and how much time you can take away from work or other responsibilities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and other healthcare experts offer some tips on when a child should stay home and when it’s usually OK to go to school or daycare.

Most experts say a child should stay home if he has:

  •   A fever above 101°F, which is a telltale sign that the body is fighting an infection
  •   Vomiting and/or diarrhea (especially with two or more episodes in the past 24 hours)
  •   Abdominal pain (especially for 2+ hours or recurring, and/or if accompanied by fever or other symptoms)
  •   A rash with fever or behavioral change (unless a doctor says the rash is not contagious)
  •   Contagious illness such as chickenpox, pink eye and whooping cough

While every child and case is different, it’s usually okay to send your child if he has:

  •   A mild sore throat without a fever
  •   An occasional cough and/or runny nose
  •   A mild earache
  •   A single episode of vomiting

Sometimes the choice is easy – your child looks terrible, feels crummy, and can barely function. But at other times it’s basically a judgment call, experts say. What’s more, school or daycare policies on sick days can vary, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all decision. Check your school website or handbook for guidance on when to keep kids home, or check in with the school nurse for more information. 

Still on the fence about taking a sick day and what treatment your child may need? Amwell is here to help! 

Have a quick consult with Amwell’s online doctors 24/7, 365 days a year. They can assess many common ailments like sinus colds and pink eye, recommend a treatment plan and how much rest your child may need, and even provide a prescription (if needed), sent to the pharmacy of your choice.

Remove some of the guesswork and have a quick online urgent care visit today!