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Should My Child Stay Home From School?

Deciding to keep your child home from school because of his or her illness can be a tough decision. On the one hand, you don’t want them to miss out or get behind on their schoolwork. At the same time, you also want to avoid sending them off to school thinking that they are okay only to receive a phone call from the nurse’s office a couple of hours later asking you to come pick your child up.

Depending on your child’s personality, it can sometimes be difficult to tell just how sick they really are. While you might think they should take a sick day, they seem to be eager to go to school anyway. Sometimes they are sicker than we think. The last thing you want to do is send your child to school when they are contagious and might spread their illness to others.

You aren’t alone. At our Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care and our Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care, we see parents every day wondering about school and when it will be okay for their children to return.

So how do you know if you should keep them home or not?

It really boils down to two questions:

Is my child still able to participate in school activities?

Does it seem that your child’s illness is slowing him or her down? Are they still active and able to engage in their normal activities at home? In many cases, a sore throat or mild congestion isn’t enough to deter your child from their typical routine. If this is the case, they are probably well enough for school.

However, if you notice significant changes in your child’s routine, such as having a tough time getting up and going in the morning or a loss of appetite, you might think about letting them take a day off from school. If your son or daughter was up all night with a cough or discomfort, a day of rest at home could be a good idea.

Does my child have symptoms that make me think his illness is contagious? (fever, vomiting, diarrhea)

As a parent, you know how quickly illness can spread at school. One sick kid can easily turn into a classroom full of sick kids in no time. It’s not just the kids at school that are affected – when your child comes in contact with an illness at school, they can also bring it home for the entire family to share.

You can avoid spreading illness by keeping your sick kid home from school, especially when they have symptoms such as a fever or nausea. If your child is vomiting or has diarrhea, it is best to keep them home for a day or two until those symptoms subside.

If you’re still not sure whether or not to keep your child home from school or daycare, check with the school nurse for a second opinion. Most schools, preschools and daycare facilities have rules and guidelines about when to keep children home from school.

Remember – AllKids Urgent Care is open every day, from noon to 10 p.m. We are a Pediatric Urgent Care with offices in Mesa and Gilbert. No appointment is necessary, just stop in and start your child on the road back to health.

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