Should My Child Be At School With This Illness?

Stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea

A child with vomiting and/or diarrhea should be kept at home until symptoms have resolved for approximately 24 hours and the child is able to keep down food and liquid. Consult your doctor if fever and stomach pains persist or your child has poor oral intake and appears dehydrated (dry mouth, no tears, sunken eyes, urinates less than 4 times in 24 hours). Remember to wash your hands frequently.


Earache: consult your doctor during office hours. To relieve pain, give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen as recommended by your child’s doctor. A child need not miss school due to an ear infection.

Toothache: Call your dentist.

Headache: A child should be kept at home if headaches are severe and do not respond to acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Consult your doctor should the headaches persist.

Cold, sore throat, cough

Children average six to eight colds per year. If cold and cough symptoms are associated with a fever or they do not readily improve, call your doctor. Your child may attend school if there is no fever.

A sore throat, in conjunction with a fever and swollen glands, may indicate strep throat. Call your doctor during office hours to have your child evaluated. Children are no longer contagious after 24 hours on antibiotics.

Red Eyes

When the white part of the eye appears red and produces a yellow or green crusty discharge: Call your doctor during office hours should these symptoms persist. Your child may have conjunctivitis, a common but troublesome condition which may be a contagious infection. Your child may need an eye ointment, and may attend school after 24 hours of treatment. Remember to wash your hands frequently.

Give your child a separate towel and washcloth.


Your child may attend school with a temperature of less than 100 degrees. Fevers are generally signs of infection. Make sure that you have a thermometer at home and can readily take your child’s temperature. Consult your doctor for the best anti-fever medication for your child and if the fever is associated with other symptoms.


A rash is usually the sign of a viral illness. It also may be a reaction to a medication or chemical (plant, detergents). If your child has an unusual rash or it is associated with a fever, contact your doctor. Keep your child home from school until you have discussed the rash with your doctor.