Kids get sick. But a sudden sickness doesn't always equal a day off from school. For a grade school-aged child, absenteeism could mean falling behind academically. How do you know when you should send your child to school or keep them home? Take a look at some of the most common childhood illnesses that should keep kids home from school.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that is extremely contagious. The closed environment of your child's elementary school classroom is the perfect breeding ground for strep to spread. Children may have a variety of strep symptoms, including a sore throat, trouble swallowing, headache, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, or a rash.
Viral infections, such as the common cold, can mimic strep throat. This makes a doctor's diagnosis necessary. The pediatrician will examine your child and swab their throat for a strep test. If the results of the test are positive, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection.
Your child will need to take the medication for several days or even a few weeks, depending on the type of antibiotic given. However, a child may be able to return to school 24 hours after starting the prescription as long as your child feels well enough to return to class and no longer has a fever.
The flu is a viral illness that gets major media attention every winter. Even though winter is typically the peak flu infection season, your child can get this virus any time of the year. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over six months of age who doesn't have a known contraindication should get the flu vaccination. This is the best way to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
Even though vaccination can dramatically decrease your child's likelihood of getting the flu, your child may still get sick with this virus. If your child has sore or achy muscles, a headache, a fever, fatigue, chills, chest discomfort, a cough, a sore throat, or a stuffy nose, your child may have the flu. Another clue is if the symptoms were sudden. The pediatrician can diagnose the flu with an exam and a swab test.
Some children may respond well to an antiviral medication. Antivirals are different than antibiotics and work better the sooner into the illness they are prescribed, making early diagnosis important. If your child does have the flu, keep them home until they are better. Wait at least 24 hours after their fever has completely subsided before sending your child back to class.
Norovirus is a stomach-related illness that can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. Like the name says, a virus is the cause of this sickness. This makes antibiotics of no use when treating it. This virus is extremely contagious. It's spread through contaminated surfaces and person-to-person contact as well as via contaminated food products.
Along with diarrhea and vomiting, norovirus can also cause fatigue, muscle pain, abdominal pain, and a low fever. Your child should stay home from school for at least 24 hours after having diarrhea or vomiting. If your child seems well but then has another episode, start over and begin the 24 hours again.
This skin infection is highly contagious and can be spread from person-to-person contact. Impetigo sores often develop around the mouth area, mimicking oral herpes. Unlike herpes (which is a virus), impetigo is a bacterial infection. Even though impetigo is common in the mouth area, this disease can spread to or develop on other areas of the face and body.
Antibiotics are necessary to clear this infection. Given the ease of passing this on to other children, wait until your child has been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours before returning to school. Your child should also avoid any contact sports and activities like football or wrestling.
Is your child sick or just not feeling like themselves? Contact the office of Y.H. Parikh & Associates for help.