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Parenting advice on when to keep your child home from school

It's official, cold and flu season is officially here. Kids across the country are battling everything from sniffles to viruses and fevers. But what illnesses are severe enough to warrant them staying home from school?

Boston.com reports that a nationwide study has found that 78 percent of parents admitted they've faced at least one situation in the past year when they were not sure whether to keep their children home from school when they had cough or cold symptoms.

According to WebMD, it's usually okay to send your child to school with cold symptoms, as long as they are not accompanied by a fever. A severe cold, or a cold with a bad cough may warrant a trip to the doctor's office, however. It could be something more serious like bronchitis, pneumonia or the flu.

A fever is another symptom that should signal you to keep your kids home from school, as it could mean they have a virus.

A stomach ache is a tough one when it comes to deciding whether or not to send them to school. If your child has vomited or has diarrhea, they should absolutely be kept home until he or she is symptom-free for 24 hours (without medication). Otherwise, you'll have to trust your paternal instincts.

Other questionable symptoms include a sore throat, rash or ear ache.

Check with your child's school about specific guidelines of when to keep your child home, and remember that a call or visit to the pediatrician can always help you make an informed decision.