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Back to School: When to keep your child home from school

Dr. Heather Bridges checks a patient.

Your child will be exposed to numerous viruses and illnesses now that school is back in session. It is important to make sure your child is washing their hands in order to prevent infection. No matter how much you try to prevent illnesses, children still become ill. It is important to know when they should stay home from school.

According to NARMC’s Dr. Heather Bridges, if a child has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, they have a true fever and should not attend school. Fever is a symptom of a contagious virus. By allowing your child to stay home and rest, not only will they feel better sooner, you also will protect others from coming in contact with the virus.

Tips on treating a fever: • Make sure your child gets plenty of fluids and rest • You can give child-formula Tylenol, but always ask your pediatrician before giving any fever reducing medicine for the first time. • Bathe your child in lukewarm water to attempt to bring down the fever. Do not use cold water, ice baths or alcohol. • Do not send your child to school unless they have been fever free for 24 hours. • Call your pediatrician if the fever lasts for more than two days, if it increases or if you are concerned.

Dr. Bridges added that it is important to keep a thermometer on hand and be sure that you are using it correctly. Dr. Bridges does not recommend a specific type of thermometer. She suggests using whichever type you and your child are the most comfortable with. No matter the type of thermometer, be sure the read the instructions and use it accordingly.

If your child feels ill but does not have a fever, it is safe to send them to school. Dr. Bridges recommends letting the school nurse know that your child is not feeling well so that the nurse can check on your child and monitor any changes in their health.

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No information or content on this website is to be taken as implicit or explicit advice. Please contact a medical professional for guidance.

Photos on this website are provided by Vowell Publishing, Inc. and NARMC.

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