How to Know When to Keep Your Child Home From School

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By Cami Kesler, nurse practitioner at Intermountain Pediatrics in American Fork

It’s cold and flu season, and for school-aged children that means absences at school and missed work days for parents. It can be confusing when trying to decide if you should keep your child home from school. Here’s a quick breakdown to help you make that decision.

  1. Fast and five. Seasonal flu symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and cough are such that they can differ from a common cold. Additionally, kids under age five, and those with other medical conditions, are at a higher risk for complications from these symptoms. Remember, when these symptoms come on FAST (within 24 hours) or when a child is under FIVE and has these symptoms, keep them home. They should be evaluated sooner than later by their healthcare professional.
  2. Red light, green light! Illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever of more than 101, respiratory difficulty and pain should remind us to slow down. Consider taking the child into their healthcare provider and keep them home from school. The child gets a green light to return to school once these symptoms have been resolved for at least 24 hours.
  3. One plus one = Combination of twos Children of all ages will experience cold-like symptoms throughout their school years. Remember that when a child has a combination of symptoms, such as a cough plus a fever or itchy red eyes plus discharge from the eye, they are more likely in need of a visit to their healthcare provider.

Here’s a bonus #pediatricpearl

People touch their eyes, nose, and mouth on an average of 15 times an hour. Cleaning your hands is simple, and it is the most effective way to stop the spreading of germs.

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