If your child goes to school or day care, he or she will inevitably catch a cold. If one child gets sick, the close proximity and interaction among classmates often spreads the cold throughout the class.
Children can come down with varying degrees of illness, from a sniffle and runny nose to a fever and sore throat. Some illnesses can be highly contagious whereas others aren’t and simply need to run their course.
How can you tell if your child is too sick to go to school? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends asking yourself the following questions:
1. Does your child have a fever? As a rule of thumb, if your child has a fever of at least 101 degrees Fahrenheit, you should probably keep him or her home from school. A fever signifies that your body is fighting off germs and is a common symptom of infections, such as the flu. The AAP recommends waiting until your child doesn’t have a fever for at least 24 hours before allowing him or her to return to school.
2. Is your child able to participate in class? If your child appears extremely fatigued or has symptoms that can prevent him or her from participating in class as usual, it may make sense for your child to stay home.
3. Is your child’s illness contagious? If your child has a contagious illness such as pinkeye or the flu, it’s best to keep him or her home until you receive the all-clear from your child’s pediatrician.