No one likes a sick day. For kids it's a complete waste of a good day off of school because, well, they're sick. What's the fun in that? And for parents, there's dealing with that feverish little pumpkin, and all the fun that comes with picking up snot-covered tissues and cleaning up barf. Not to mention a working parent often ends up using their own sick days for junior.
So how do you know if you REALLY have to keep the kids home from school for the day? If they meet the following criteria, it's time to call your boss -- you're both staying home:
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1. Does he have a fever? Rules vary by school, but most require a child be fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to the classroom. The general consensus is that anything 100.4 degrees or higher is reason to keep a kid home (but you can check with your child's school for an exact figure).
2. How does she feel? Just because a child's fever has dipped doesn't mean they're feeling up to the rigors of keeping up with their classwork, gym class, etc. If they're feeling "wiped out," the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you keep them home. Better to play catch-up when they're well than have them flunk a test because they were exhausted.
3. Is he contagious? If there's any chance that other kids in the class are going to wind up with your kid's creepy crawlies, do the other parents a favor: keep YOUR kid home. Wouldn't you rather they do the same for you? Your doctor can help determine what's contagious or not -- some diseases are contagious all the way through, while some can only be spread at different times.
4. Does she have vomiting or diarrhea? She may be feeling fine between her outbursts, but these are uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing conditions. It's best to allow a child to stay home, and near their own bathroom, until they've been vomit/diarrhea-free for at least 24 hours.
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5. Is it pink eye (conjunctivitis)? Most schools will not accept a child with pink eye who has not visited a doctor and been cleared to interact with classmates.
6. Is it strep throat? Children should stay home at least 24 hours after beginning antibiotics to treat their strep.
Does your kids' school have a "stay home sick" policy?
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