Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is Your Child Too Sick for School

My husband went away for his first conference since Big Brother was little.  Back then being home alone with one child was more like a fun vacation.  We went to the Baltimore Aquarium and the National Zoo.  We met Grandma for a picnic at the park and had fun things planned all week long.  Being home alone with four kids is a whole different story, especially when all four of those kids are sick.  We had a baby with croup and a sinus infection, a two-year-old with an ear infection, two cases of Fifth Disease and one regular cold (mine).  Needless to say, it was a scary and exhausting four days.  Part of me wants to go Chuck Norris on whatever unsuspecting child introduced these germs into my home, but the other part realizes that kids are kids and sometimes germs just spread (especially with the little guys who love to share!).  

So, what's a parent to do?  You don't want to keep your kids quarantined for every runny nose, but there are some generally accepted policies that are recognized in schools, daycares, and play groups for what is considered "sick".  If your child is experiencing these symptoms, please keep them at home for some extra Mommy-lovin'!

  1. Fever (100 degrees F or higher) – Children need to be fever free for 24 hours before returning to childcare or school.  This means that if your child goes home from school with a fever, you should plan for them to be out the next day, even if they wake up without a fever.  Unfortunately, fevers get worse throughout the day so a child that wakes up normal can be feverish by lunch time.  Don't be surprised if you get a call from the nurse if you try to send them back early.
  2. Nausea or Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea:  runny or watery stools, or two looser stools within the last 4 hours
  4. Sore throat, loss of voice, hacking or continuous coughing, runny nose with colored discharge.
  5. Runny and/or crusty eyes – pink eye is highly contagious
  6. Unexplainable rash - while most rashes signal that your child has a virus and is no longer contagious, it's still better to be safe in this area.  Some rashes can signal more serious conditions.
  7. Lice - children should be treated with medicated shampoo and checked thoroughly before returning to school
  8. Communicable diseases (chicken pox, roseola, conjunctivitis, mumps, measles, flu, etc.)
When in doubt, go with your Mommy (or Daddy) intuition.  If your child isn't feeling well or just isn't acting like themselves, chances are they are indeed coming down with something.  I can't tell you how many times I've called a parent during the day for a child that just seemed "off" in the morning because they started vomiting halfway through the day.   And, as we all know, there is nothing better than Mommy cuddles and soup when you're not feeling well!  In fact, I still want my Mommy when I'm sick and I'm 30 years old :)

Wishing all of you a healthy germ-free week!


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