School, work or stay home: let the symptoms guide your decision

February 5, 2014

By Staff

Are they sick or are they not sick is a question parents often face during the winter months. Are they too sick to go to school and just as importantly, as an adult, are you too sick to go to work?

Jennifer Richter, a school nurse who splits her time between Fall City Elementary and Chief Kanim Middle School, created an article for the schools’ newsletters to help guide parents. She pulled information from a Public Health Seattle and King County poster to describe symptoms and how to handle it.

The same descriptions work if you’re trying to decide to keep a toddler, an elementary student or a teenager at home. Then look in the mirror. If you’ve got these symptoms, do the rest of the working world a favor and stay home until you’re well.

• Vomiting: Vomiting more than once in 24 hours stay home. Don’t return to normal activity until at least 24 hours after the last episode.

• Diarrhea: Three or more loose stools in 24 hours. It’s common for diarrhea to last up to two weeks until fully resolved. Children should stay home until it has decreased to no more than twice per day and the child is not having accidents.

• Fever: Fevers of 100 degrees or greater need to stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours (without the help of medication).

• Eye Infections: Home – especially those with pus or mucus draining from the eye.

• Rashes: Home- especially if accompanied by itchiness or fever.

• Lice: Active infections need to stay home until treated. If discovered during the school day, parents will be notified.

• Sore Throat: Swollen glands or fever. Sore throat without fever or swollen glands can sometime be a sign that a cold is developing.

Note: Dehydration can develop rapidly, particularly in younger children, whenever they have any of the above symptoms. Give them plenty of fluids and consult your healthcare provider.

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2 Responses to “School, work or stay home: let the symptoms guide your decision”

  1. Amy Cleff-Holic RN on February 12th, 2014 9:21 am

    Great reference for parents and staff to remain at home when ill. Would love to use it for our parents and staff!!

  2. Administrator on February 13th, 2014 12:43 pm

    Please feel free to use the information. I gleaned it from the school nurse quoted in the article, from the Seattle King County Health Department and from my own knowledge as a former PIO for a hospital. We want to keep people healthy!

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