Is Your Child Too Sick for School?

Deciding whether to keep your child home from school due to illness can be tricky, but several symptoms are sure signs she needs a sick day.

“You cannot keep children home for every sniffle, but you should not send them to school if they’re sick either,” says Regi Geissler, RN, HSHS Western Wisconsin Division Trauma Coordinator. “Keeping children home when they’re ill decreases the spread of diseases to others and helps them avoid catching other illnesses when their natural resistance is lower than normal.”

Symptoms that warrant a sick day include:

    • Fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Diarrhea
    • Extensive or severe rash
    • Intense ear pain
    • Severe headache
    • Severe sore throat
    • Uncontrolled coughing
    • Vomiting
    • Wheezing

Certain diagnoses also rule out going to school. These include contagious diseases such as chickenpox, pink eye, strep throat, and flu.

“If a child has a fever not relieved by acetaminophen or ibuprofen, pulls at his or her ears, has a barky cough, complains of a sore throat, or has a rash or abdominal pain, schedule an appointment with the child’s primary care physician or go to an urgent care center,” Geissler says. “Wheezing or difficulty breathing, changes in consciousness, severe abdominal pain, or vomiting that won’t stop are symptoms that indicate an emergency, so call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department immediately.”

Open every day, Urgent Care at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital treats minor illnesses and injuries when your child needs care fast.

You may also be interested in “Can a Child Have PTSD?”