The following information should be considered a general guideline for keeping an ill child home. Parents who have specific questions or concerns should call their school nurse.
1. Colds - What seems like a mild cold with symptoms such as a runny nose may indeed be allergies. If the child does not have a fever or a severe cough, don't keep the child home. On the other hand colds especially those with a fever can be signs of a more serious problem. These children should stay home.
2. Fever - Any child with a temperature of 100 degrees or above should stay home until the child's temperature is normal for 24 hours. If the fever is accompanied by a sore throat, earache, nausea, listlessness, or a rash the child may be contagious.
3. Diarrhea or Vomiting - Children need to stay home if either occurred during the previous night.
4. Strep Throat or Scarlet Fever - Both are highly contagious. These children need antibiotics and may return to school with a doctors permission while they are being treated. Remember to complete the prescribed medication.
5. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) - This can be highly contagious depending on the cause. Children can return to school with the permission of the treating doctor. Practice good hand washing.
6. Ear Infections - If left untreated ear infections can cause hearing loss. They should be treated immediately. Children with pain and or fever should remain at home.
7. Chicken Pox - Children must stay home for at least 6 days after the last crop of vesicles appear. Never give aspirin or Ibuprofen.
8. Lice - Children must be treated before they come to school. Nits should be removed as a part of the treatment. Use an appropriate lice shampoo.
If you are not sure about when to keep a child home or have questions about treatment call your child's doctor or your school nurse.