With every start of a school year comes cold and flu season, exacerbated by slimy fingers touching everything in sight. If your child wakes up feeling sick, how do you know it’s time to rearrange your schedule and have him or her stay at home? These five questions should handle the bulk of critical issues requiring either more care or a day or two at home away from other kids.
1. General grogginess and lack of interest? If your normally happy child seems tired and listless, let him stay at home.
2. No appetite at all for food or liquids? This may be a sign of worse to come and you should proceed with caution.
3. Fever over 100.4? This is a real indicator of something worse than a garden variety cold.
4. Symptoms of something worse, like strep, flu, or another illness (chicken pox?) that you wouldn’t want to pass on to other families?
5. Diarrhea or vomiting? You might soldier on with diarrhea, but it’s more irregular for kids. Ditto vomiting.
Clearly there are times when it’s obvious your child should stay at home or you’d be more comfortable knowing that she is getting the attention at home that she wouldn’t get at school. Sometimes, that’s a hard call to make. The best gut check is whether you’d want someone else to bring a child who looks as sick as yours into the classroom for the day.