Is your child too sick for school? This checklist will help

IT'S that time of year parents dread. When we play the guessing game each morning with a 'slightly' sick child tossing up whether they are well enough to send to school or daycare, or best to be left at home.

Ask Your Pharmacistknows the position parents and carers are in, so have released a helpful checklist that will guarantee to save us all the guessing game before school drop off.

The checklist goes into detail about each symptom that your child might be presenting and the best way to deal with it.

Do not go to school

FEVER - If your child is reaching a high temp of 38.5 degrees or more, avoid the school gate.

DIARRHOEA - If your child has had more than two bowel motions that are loose or watery or complaining of stomach cramps, school should be avoided for at least 24 hours after the last visit to the toilet.

VOMITING - If your child has vomited more than twice in the last 24 hours, the classroom is a no-go for at least 24 hours after the vomiting has stopped.

RASH - A rash can indicate a viral infection - the common ones being chicken pox or impetigo. Visit your doctor before contemplating heading back to school.

RED EYES - Anyone who has had pink eye knows you don't want to be seen in public with the infection. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious and it's best to keep your child away from anyone until the symptoms have gone.

caucasian little girl crying
It's hard to know just how sick your little one is. Image: iStock

Proceed with caution
COUGH - Taking your child who has a cough to school will depend on the severity of the cough. If it's severe, take them to the doctor to rule out anything severe such as bronchitis, whooping cough, or pneumonia.

STOMACH ACHE - A tummy ache can be hard to diagnose in a little one so keep an eye on the symptoms and listen to the complaints to be sure it's not something serious like gastro or food poisoning.

ITCHY SCALP - An itchy head can be caused by head lice, so best rule that out before you take your child through the school gates. A little trip to the pharmacy could be all you need here.

You can go to school

SORE THROAT - If the child has no other symptoms other than a sore throat and isn't too miserable, they can go to school.

EARACHE - Like the sore throat, if other symptoms aren't making them too miserable, they're all good to go.

RUNNY NOSE - It's the season for it, so a few little runny noses are common. But if other symptoms present such as a cough or fever, best to take a trip to the doctor.

HAY FEVER - Other than making you miserable and uncomfortable, hay fever shouldn't interfere with your child's school attendance.

Of course each sick child will present with different symptoms and they might not be as black and white as the checklist might suggest. So if you're unsure, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Is my child well enough to comfortably take part in the day's activities?
  • Will my child pass on their illness to other children or staff?
  • Will my child's teacher be able to care for my child without it impacting on their ability to care for other children?
  • Or the best question of all: If you felt the way they do, would you be going to work?

If you're concerned about any symptoms your child is presenting, please speak to your local health practitioner for advice. 

This article appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.

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