Guidelines for How Long to Keep a Sick Child Home from School
To Stay or To Go: Guidelines for How Long to Keep a Sick Child Home from School
It is sometimes difficult to decide when and how long to keep an ill child home from school. The following are guidelines for some of the more common childhood illnesses and our usual recommendations. It is always a good idea to contact your physician for specific diagnosis and
treatment. Please keep these guidelines available for future reference.
Chicken Pox— This is a skin rash that progresses to blisters, then scabs. A slight fever may or may not be present. Your child should remain home until the sixth day after onset of rash or until all lesions are dry.
COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)- Symptoms can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. This list does not include all possible symptoms. If your child has a positive test or signs and symptoms consistent with
COVID-19 he/she should stay home until cleared by the local health department.
Fever—If your child’s temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater (or 1-2 degrees above the child’s normal temperature) he/she should remain home until fever free for 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication (i.e. Tylenol, Advil).
Flu—Symptoms of the flu include abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache, and sore muscles. Runny nose, sore throat, and cough are also common. Your child should remain home from school until symptoms diminish and your child is fever free for 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication.
Head Lice—Lice are small wingless insects that lay eggs called nits. Nits firmly attach to the hair shafts near the scalp. They are small white specks and are commonly found at the nape of the neck and behind the ears. Following lice infestation, your child may return to school after receiving treatment with a pediculicide shampoo and he/she has been cleared by the health clinic
Impetigo—This consists of blister-like, pus-filled bumps that later develop into yellowish, crusted sores that are commonly found around the nose and mouth. Your child should remain home from school until 24 hours after starting an effective antibiotic and all sores are dry, or can be covered at all times.
Pain—If your child complains or behavior indicates that he/she is experiencing persistent pain, he/she should be evaluated by a physician before being sent to school.
Pink Eye—Redness and swelling of the white(s) of the eyes or inside the eyelids, discharge from the eyes, itchy or scratchy eyes, or crusting of the eyelids or lashes may be present. Your child should remain home from school until 24 hours after starting an effective antibiotic.
Ringworm—Symptoms may include a scaly, itchy, red circular bald spot on the scalp. Skin may have a red, itchy, ring-like rash. Your child should remain home until 24 hours after an effective treatment is started.
Skin Rashes—Skin rashes of unknown origin should be evaluated by a physician and the diagnosis reported to the office before your child is sent to school.
Strep Throat & Scarlet Fever—Strep throat symptoms can consist of fever and red throat with pus spots. With scarlet fever, there are all of the symptoms of Strep throat, as well as a strawberry appearance of the tongue and a sandpaper-like rash on skin and inside of the mouth. High fever, nausea, and vomiting may also occur. Your child should remain home from school until receiving 24 hours of antibiotic therapy and has been fever free and without vomiting for 24 hours.
Vomiting and Diarrhea (Intestinal Viral Infections) - Stomach ache, cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are often present, along with a possible fever, headache, and body aches. Your child should remain home until he/she has been without vomiting, diarrhea, or fever for 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication.
*Derived from the Ohio Department of Health Communicable Disease Chart