It is about that time each year when the weather starts changing it seems we start seeing more sickness, although there is no research to suggest weather changes have anything to do with getting sick.
As the weather cools off, we are more likely to see sicker kids and in our busy world with working parents and single moms, it is sometimes difficult and a challenge to decide whether to keep your child home from school. Sometimes that means calling in to work and being absent. Since disease is spread from person to person, one sick child can start a wave going thru a school much like dropping a pebble into water.
So, as a concerned parent, there are some guidelines that you can follow to make that all important decision to send your child to school or keep him or her home when they are sick. Some things are quite obvious. For example, if your child had chicken pox, measles, mumps or strep throat, you know that the child needs to be isolated and keep him home. Another example is an ear infection. They are not typically contagious and therefore, as long as the child is not in a great amount of pain, he or she can go to school.
Kids who are sneezing and have runny noses may be allergic and may not be infected, and under the right circumstances, can very well go to school with a box of Kleenex and do fine and not infect anybody.
The following is a list of general guidelines that you can use to decide to keep your child home from school.
n Vomiting two times or more in a 24-hour period.
n Temperature higher than 100 degrees.
n Coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing.
n More than two bouts of diarrhea.
n Constant abdominal pain.
n Visible sores on the mouth and rashes on the skin for which you don’t have an explanation, such as swollen eyes from allergies, which once again are not contagious.
It is true that most of the children in school are vaccinated against the more serious types of disease, but more minor common illnesses are contagious and can spread rapidly through school — starting with one sick individual.
Some of the preceding information was taken from information gathered at the Mayo Clinic. They are, of course, very highly regarded as experts. But your local pediatrician can always help you decide if you are unsure. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Many times, this type of decision can be made over the phone and quite quickly with the confidence you are doing the best for your child. Remember to vaccinate your child and yourself. Some vaccinations you had as a child may need a booster!
Denis W. Grillo, D.O., FOCOO, is an ear, nose and throat specialist in Crystal River. Call him at 352-795-0011 or visit CrystalCommunityENT.com.