Monday, December 17, 2012

When To Keep Your Child Home From School

Monika Pis, PhD, CPNP

Has your child ever been sent home from school because of "pink eye?" Did you know that conjunctivitis DOES NOT warrant immediate exclusion from school?

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its guidelines for school exclusion due to infectious diseases. Here is what you need to know about the recommendations on when your child should stay home when sick. Bear in mind that these are just recommendations and your school’s policy might differ.

According to the AAP, children with fever should not be excluded from school unless they exhibit behavioral changes, or other signs and symptoms of illness. The exception is infants younger than 4 months of age with unexplained fever.

Most respiratory illnesses do not require exclusion. However, if there is a persistent cough or difficulties breathing, your child should be evaluated by her health care provider as soon as possible.

If your child is in pain, he/she should stay at home.

If your child is vomiting, you should keep her at home until she stops and has not vomited for 24 hours.

The AAP recommends that children in diapers who have diarrhea may remain in daycare if the diarrhea is contained in the diaper and the child has no more than two abnormal stools above what she normally has.

This guideline includes ALL skin infections, including those caused by MRSA. Your child should be excluded from school only if the infection is accompanied by a fever or behavior change.

Once the rash of fifth’s disease appears, your child is not contagious. Therefore, she should not be excluded from school.

According to the AAP, children should be excluded only if they have sores in the mouth and are drooling, or if they have a rash and a fever.

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