Kids at Home

Six Reasons to Keep Your Child Home

Knowing when to keep a child home from school due to illness can be a difficult decision, but there are some common illnesses that leave no question.

"There are definitely times when it's best for a child remain at home, rather than risk becoming sicker or infecting other students," said Floyd Primary Care physician Christina Douglass, M.D.

"There seems to be more pressure than ever before for students to avoid absences, but that is not always in the student's best interest."

Below are six instances when a child should stay home from school.

Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis)
"Children with bacterial or viral conjunctivitis may be contagious until the redness and itching are gone," Dr. Douglass said. "In cases where the condition is viral, antibiotic eye drops won't help. The only cure for viral pinkeye is time. Children shouldn't go back to school until their eye is no longer red," she said.

Stomach Flu
"The stomach flu is typically viral and can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea," Dr. Douglass said. "Those symptoms should be gone for 24 hours before a child goes back to school."

Steady or Hacking Cough
"A child who has a moderate to severe persistent cough, or who is experiencing coughing fits, should stay home," Dr. Douglass said. "Children with minor coughs are typically ok to go to school, but the child should practice good coughing hygiene, such as coughing into a tissue or their elbow and washing hands frequently."

"Most schools ask parents to keep children home if they have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and will often require children to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning," Dr. Douglass said. "This is a good policy. The fever itself isn't contagious or a bad thing, but it causes fatigue and requires rest for the child to fully recover."

Strep Throat
"Strep throat is definitely contagious," Dr. Douglass said. "Children who have been diagnosed with strep throat should be treated with antibiotics, which need to be in the system for at least 24 hours before the child is considered to not be infectious."

Head Lice
"A child who has live head lice shouldn't return to school until they've undergone lice treatment, and there are no live bugs in the hair. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement May 2015 that discourages missing school due to nits only." Dr. Douglass advised.

Parents who believe a child is too ill to go to school should contact a Floyd physician who treats children.