Is Your Child Well Enough To Go To School?
Your child feels ill and you are faced with a dilemma: should he/she and you or your spouse stay home? The first things for you to consider, of course, is your child’s health and comfort.
Good handwashing is our best defense!. Please use the following guidelines to help you make an informed decision.
- Fever: A fever of 100.4 degrees or more signals an illness that is probably going to make a student uncomfortable and unable to function well in class. Your child should stay at home until he is fever-free, for 24 hours. (fever-free without the use of medication such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen)
- Vomiting, Diarrhea or Severe Nausea: A student should remain at home until a normal diet is tolerated the night before and the morning of school.
- Infectious Diseases: Impetigo, pink eye with thick drainage, and strep throat require a physician’s examination and prescription medication. After 24 hours of medication and when the student is feeling better he may return to school. Remember the student must complete the cycle of medication.
- Chickenpox: A student may return to school when all scabs are completely dried and no new lesions are developing (usually 5-7 days).
- Rashes: Rashes or patches of broken, itchy skin need to be examined by a doctor if they appear to be spreading or not improving.
- Injuries: If a student has an injury that causes continuous discomfort, the student should not attend school until the condition is checked by a physician or it improves. Injuries that interfere with class participation need a medical evaluation. If participation in physical education class is not recommended, a doctor’s written excuse is required.
A common and mildly infectious childhood disease, characterized by a rash and slight fever. Most people have had chickenpox by age 10. An attack usually confers lifelong immunity. The virus spreads from person to person in airborne droplets. Rash consists of a mass of small, red itchy spots that become fluid-filled blisters within a few hours, after several days the blisters dry out and form scabs. Children usually have only a slightly raised temperature.
Tylenol for fever, calamine lotion or Aveeno products may reduce itching.
Your child was already contagious to classmates the day before the sores appeared. Children may return to school when all scabs are completely dried and no new lesions develop. (usually 5-7 days). Chickenpox (Varicella) is a vaccine preventable disease.
A cold (virus) will last 7-10 days. Treat the symptoms with rest, liquids to drink, and staying warm. Please keep your child at home with a cold if he has a fever, is too uncomfortable to pay attention in class, do his required school work or has a severe cough that classroom activities would be disturbed. A day of rest may help him avoid complications associated with the illness.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the thin, transparent outer layer of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelids. The inflammation causes redness, tearing, and occasionally formation of pus. Because of the redness, it is commonly called “pink-eye” and the most common causes are bacteria, viruses and allergy. The first two are quite contagious. Allergic conjunctivitis is usually associated with nasal allergy and rarely cause any pus in the inner corner of the eye; this can be helpful in differentiating contagious from noncontagious varieties.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is the cause of about 55-65% of cases of pink-eye. Treatment usually consists of an antibiotic eye drops or ointments, and most cases heal very quickly. However, if the infectious conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, antibiotic drops will not help. Therefore, some children with mild pink-eye will be told by their physician that no treatment is necessary and the condition will go away by itself in a few days. Allergic conjunctivitis can be relieved, not cured, by certain nonantibiotic eye drops.
Viruses cause the majority of diarrhea episodes in children. At least one half of infected children excrete the virus up to 5 days before they even get sick. The major factor in the spread of diarrhea is POOR HANDWASHING.
A child who has diarrhea may be seriously ill if he has any one of the following danger signs:
- continuous abdominal pain for 6 hours or more
- repeated vomiting for more than 12 hours
- refusal to drink
- sunken eyes
- abnormal drowsiness
- passing no urine for 6 hours or more
Call your physician if the above occur. When your child is hungry or thirsty, start fluids first, if tolerated, food after the diarrhea subsides.
Ear & Sinus Infections
Ear and sinus infections are not contagious, although they often are uncomfortable complications of a cold. You can send your child back to school as soon as the pain and fever are gone.
Highly contagious skin infection, common in children, that usually occurs around the nose and mouth. Impetigo is a superficial bacterial infection of the skin caused by streptococci, staphylococci, or both entering the skin through a broken area, such as a cut, cold sore or an area affected by eczema.
The skin reddens and small fluid filled blisters appear which rupture and become covered with a loosely adherent, honey-yellow crust. Because impetigo spreads rapidly, it is advisable to consult a physician. He will usually prescribe a systemic antibiotic.
Treat the lesion with topical antibiotic (bacitracin, neosporin), or zinc oxide, cover with an adhesive bandage if desired, this should be done two times a day. Remove crusts with soap and hot compresses, so the ointment will reach the infected site.
An infection of the throat caused by streptococcus, common in children and spread by droplets that are coughed or breathed into the air.
If your child has a sore throat, fever, swollen or tender glands in the neck and/or foul odor of the mouth, first see your doctor. If strep is diagnosed through a strep test, wait 24 hours from the first dose of antibiotics before returning your child to class.
Remember, to use all of the prescription. Replace your child’s toothbrush after a strep infection.