When to Keep a Sick Child Home

Item Title: Two reasons to keep a sick child home
Region: HQ
Global Topic: Health Resources
Content: sick children
  • The child does not feel well enough to participate comfortably in usual activities.
  • The illness or signs & symptoms are on the list for which temporary exclusion is recommended for the health and safety of your child as well as other children.

Children with the following symptoms should be kept (excluded) from school:
Signs & Symptom Child must be at home?
Elevated temperature of 100 F or greater demonstrates the need to exclude the student from the school setting.
Note: A fever is noted to be present at 100.4 F.
YES - when accompanied by behavior changes or other symptoms of illness, i.e.: rash, sore throat, stomach ache/vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, head ache, ear ache.
The student should be fever free (oral temperature below 99 F) without the use of fever-reducing medicines, for a complete school day (24 hours) before returning to school.
Flu Symptoms:
Fever over 100o F or greater with cough and/or sore throat.
Other flu symptoms can include fatigue, body aches, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
YES - for at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
Severe uncontrolled coughing or wheezing, rapid or difficult breathing; coughing lasting longer than 5-7 days.
Yes - medical attention is necessary.
Mild Respiratory or cold Symptoms:
Stuffy nose with clear drainage, sneezing, mild cough; no temperature elevation.
NO - may attend if able to participate in school activities.
Two or more episodes of vomiting in the past 24 hours.
YES - until vomiting resolves (no further vomiting for 24 hours). Observe for other signs of illness and for dehydration.
Frequent, loose or watery stools compared to child's normal pattern; not caused by diet or medication.
YES - if the child looks or acts ill; if the child has diarrhea with temperature elevation of 100 F or greater; if child has diarrhea and vomiting.
Rash WITH Fever:
A body rash without fever or behavior changes usually does not require exclusion from school; seek medical advice.
YES - see medical advice. Any rash that spreads quickly, has open, weeping wounds and/or is not healing should be evaluated.

Children with the following illness should be kept (excluded) from school:
Illness Child must be at home?
Pink/reddish color to white part of the eye and thick discharge may be yellow or greenish in color.
YES - discharge and signs of infection have cleared or completion of 24 hour treatment with ophthalmic solution prescribed by a health care provider.
Head lice or scabies NO - Treatment initiated.
Note: Strict adherence to product directions is essential for successful eradication of parasites.
Impetigo (to include: streptococci, staphylococcus, MRSA infections)
Blister like lesions which develop into pustules. May "weep" and crust.
Yes - for 24 hours after medical treatment initiated.
Note: Lesions must be covered for school attendance.
Ringworm NO - Under care of medical care provider
Note: Lesions must be covered for school attendance.
Vaccine Preventable Diseases
Measles, Mumps, Rubella, (German Measles), Chicken pox, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Influenza
YES - until determined not infectious by medical care provider.
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