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Children’s Chatter: Is your child too sick for school?

By Susan Matherly

Contributing writer

If you have a child who goes to day care or school, you have probably experienced a time when she complains of her tummy hurting, or perhaps she feels just a bit warm. 

You’re faced with a dilemma … is her tummy ache the first sign of illness … is she running a fever?

It can be hard at times to determine if your child is really ill or just faking feeling bad. 

These guidelines will help you decide what is best for your child as well as the other children at day care or school:

• If your child is running a temperature of 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, she may not be very sick but is probably not going to feel very well.  It’s probably best to let her rest at home.

• It’s best to keep your child at home if she is experiencing bouts of vomiting or diarrhea.  By keeping her home, you can keep her hydrated with lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.  If your child was sick the night before but the symptoms have disappeared by morning, it’s OK to send her on to day care or school.

• If your child has a sore throat accompanied by fever or fatigue, or if she’s had a sore throat for more than one day, she should be taken to the doctor to make sure the sore throat is not strep.

• If your child has an ongoing cold, it’s OK to send her to school after the symptoms have finally appeared; however, if your child is tired and not feeling well, let her stay home.

• Your child should also stay home is she has pinkeye (conjunctivitis), as certain types of pinkeye are very contagious.

Susan Matherly is director at A Children’s Place, a service of Ephraim McDowell Health.  She has a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science and a master’s degree in public health.  She can be contacted at (859) 236-71716.