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Child too sick for school? Ask yourself these five questions before bringing a sick child to school.

The start of a new school year also brings the start of cold and flu season, exacerbated by slimy fingers touching everything in sight. If your child is sick, how do you know when it’s time to rearrange your schedule and keep him or her home from school. Every situation is different, but you can start by asking these five questions

1. Groggy and listless? If your usually happy camper doesn’t seem like himself and it’s hard to get smile, let alone a giggle, this is a good indicator that this isn’t a normal day.

2. Lack of appetite or thirst? If your child really wants to eat or drink nothing at all after a full night’s sleep, this isn’t normal and it’s his body’s way of keeping food out.

3. Diarrhea of vomiting? While you might soldier on with a case of diarrhea, it isn’t normal for little kids and is a sign of something more serious. Ditto, vomiting.

4. Any symptoms of a contagious disease like strep, flu, pink eye, chicken pox, or the like? No matter what your other responsibilities for the day, you do not want to be responsible for infecting the rest of the class.

5. Fever over 100.4? This is a good indicator something more serious is going on.

All of these signs suggest that at the very least your child would be more comfortable hanging out with you for the day rather than struggling through a day of school. You should also consider a call to the doctor if get more serious.

In terms of trusting the school to watch over your sick child for the day, a final gut check might be whether you’d want another kid as sick as yours looks spending time with your child all day at school.