Sick student prevention & guidelines on keeping home
As the flu season approaches, it can be difficult to know when to keep a child home from school for an illness. The basic guidelines below may be helpful.
Anytime a child complains of not feeling well, take the childs temperature. When a childs temperature is 100 degrees or higher, the child should stay home from school. Usually, a fever means that the person is contagious. In order to help reduce the spread of infections and viruses, a child should NOT come to school if there is a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, frequent sneezing, coughing, an active nasal discharge, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. This list of symptoms is not complete but is a general guideline.
If your child is complaining of feeling sick, please keep that child home from school until the illness is resolved. We have seen school children who had complained of feeling sick at home in the morning, or had a slight fever but had been given Tylenol or Ibuprofen and sent to school. If a child comes to school sick, we will send them home. That is the school policy and it will be followed as we need to prevent the spread of illness within the entire school community.
A sick child is not able to concentrate and their learning is compromised. Most children become embarrassed if they vomit or have an accident at school related to diarrhea. Additionally, when a student comes to school sick, those germs are spread to other classmates and staff.
The most important and effective way to help prevent the spread of illness is frequent hand washing with soap and water. Another method that is an effective alternative with school age children is to have them use antibacterial wipes before snack and lunch. Some parents pack a few wipes in a zip-lock bag each day and place them in their childs lunchbox or book bag. The child can use the wipes both prior to snack and lunch. Also, alcohol-based gel sanitizers are a great way to help prevent the spread of germs in the classroom. Additionally, teach children not to touch or rub their eyes, nose or put fingers in their mouths as this is an obvious way to contract an illness from germs on their own hands.
Hopefully, if we are all practicing these common sense approaches, we will enter the holidays on a healthy note. Take care!
Cyndi Lawrence, RN, M. Ed.