Children get sick more often than adults. We all know it, and their schools know it. Current estimates say that school-age children catch eight viruses a year, and those are just the ones that make them noticeably ill.
Currently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a short list of recommendations for when to keep your child home from school or daycare that tries to balance public health with the fact that a parent can’t be constantly taking time off work for child care. They are as follows:
- Is the child too ill to participate comfortably in activities?
- Does the child need specific care that would interfere with their teacher/provider’s ability to safely care for the other children?
- Do they pose a risk of contagion? (coughing, mucus, diarrhea, frequent sneezing)
If they don’t have any issues on this list, odds are good you can send a sick child to school with a clean conscience, though many schools have a fever policy, wherein children must be fever-free for a full day and night without medication before they’re allowed back.
According to the AAP, things like rashes, common colds, eye pain, minor fever, staph infections, or blood- or fluid-borne diseases are fine to take to school, with very low risks of transmission. They do, however, note to remain mindful of other students.
“There’s kiddos at school who may have underlying medical problems and what just causes a cold or runny nose in one child, for a kid that has another underlying problem it could cause a very severe illness where they wind up in the hospital or worse. So we really need to think about and protect those kiddos as well,” pediatrician Dr. Jessica Laniere told Click2Houston.
However, during outbreaks of influenza, children with any flu-like symptoms need to be kept home, and flu vaccines are highly recommended. Flu contributed to over 80,000 deaths in the winter of 2017, and while your children may catch only a mild case, every case increases the likelihood of the flu spreading to someone who is high-risk, like the elderly, pregnant, or very young.
If you’re a busy parent, it might seem like you’re always having to stop everything because of your sick child, but most childhood illnesses are easily managed and lived with. Regular precautions are all you need to take in order to go about your daily life.