Every working parent has been there; on the fence, trying to decide if their child is truly sick, or just a bit under the weather. Would if be better to stay home and miss learning time (and work), or better to push through and attend school?
As working parents ourselves here at Alzein Pediatric Associates, we’ve been there too! This decision can be one of the toughest for any parent. Following some simple guidelines can help you determine whether to keep your child home in bed, or blow the all clear and put them on that bus!
A mild cough and the sniffles gets the go-ahead; send your child to school. Pack plenty of tissues and stress to your child that they must cover their mouth and nose thoroughly with tissue when they have to cough or blow their nose. Tissues should be promptly thrown in a trash bin and hands should be washed frequently.
However, a cough that disturbs sleep throughout the night or a persistent hacking that brings up phlegm and mucus means your child stays home.
A stomachache? If there has been vomiting or diarrhea within the last few hours, your child needs to stay home. Not only will they be more comfortable near their own bathroom facilities, they also won’t spread any infection to classmates.
If your child frequently has stomachaches with no physical evidence of gastrointestinal issues and then seems to make it through the school day, it’s time to ask what’s behind these feelings. Is your child being bullied? Afraid to take tests? Hates gym class? Anxiety can make your child physically ill, but introducing coping skills can make it “all better”.
Pinkeye means a trip to Alzein Pediatric Associates – and a day or two off from school.
A fever is always a clear-cut choice; your child stays home. Even if the fever disappears with medication, your child’s body has recognized a serious infection that needs to be killed off. Wait until your child has maintained a normal temperature, without medication, for 24 hours before sending them to school.
A mild sore throat, perhaps from dryness in the air or exposure to the cold, means your child can handle school for the day. A sore throat that’s red and inflamed, pocked with white spots, accompanied by a fever, or makes it very difficult to swallow means staying at home – and calling our office for a strep throat screening.
Still on the fence? Trust your instincts. And if you make the wrong call, don’t feel badly about it. Parenting is not about being perfect; it’s about trying to be good.
Need help deciding if your child should go to school or stay home? Call 708-424-7600 and talk to Alzein Pediatric Associates. We can help! You can also click here to help make your decision.