School or bed for sick children? Key word is 'contageous'
ST. CLOUD Trying to decide when to keep a sick child at home from school can be hard for parents. LoAnn DeGagne, school nurse for Sauk Rapids-Rice (Minn.) school district, said it boils down to: Will the child make other pupils sick? With student...
Trying to decide when to keep a sick child at home from school can be hard for parents.
LoAnn DeGagne, school nurse for Sauk Rapids-Rice (Minn.) school district, said it boils down to: Will the child make other pupils sick?
With students returning to the classroom or participating in after-school programs, odds are they will come into contact with other kids who might have a contagious disease.
"We have kind of some guidelines that we like to give parents," DeGagne said about whether a sick child should remain at home.
A child with a fever of over 100 degrees should remain at home for at least 24 hours after his temperature returns to normal, she said.
"With strep throats, kids can return to school 24 hours after antibiotic treatment has begun," she said of the bacterial infection.
Highly contagious infections such as pinkeye usually necessitate a day at home with appropriate treatment, she said.
"If we see a rash that we are concerned about or that we're suspicious of, we'll ask the parents to take the kid to a doctor and have the doctor OK whether the child can return to school," she said.
"We strive to teach kids in kindergarten how to wash their hands correctly and how to avoid coming into contact with germs, but it happens; you can go to the grocery store and get germs from a grocery cart, so the germs are out there."
DeGagne said schools in her district receive phone calls every day from concerned parents wondering whether their child should be kept home or be allowed to attend class.
"Sometimes parents will say to their kids in the morning, 'Go and try it,' and then the child will come to us not feeling well and then we call the parents," said DeGagne, a registered nurse.
Parents have to make the call on common childhood illnesses that are contagious and when they should keep their children home and away from school and day care, and for how long.
Distributed by MCT Information Services