Should We Keep Sick Child at Home?

Updated on September 13, 2012
E.V. asks from Tempe, AZ
18 answers

Moms, my son has been sneezing since he went home from school, and his noseis running. I have given him ibuprofen and lots of fruits. He has no fever. I don't know the rule here, but in Indonesia sick kids are still allowed to attend school because it is kind of immunization for other kids. He is still active like himself, too. Should he go tomorrow or I just keep him at home?
Also, he goes with school bus, if he is not going tomorrow, I am supposed to call the public bus people before. Anyone ever experience this? What time I should call them at the earliest? He goes at 8.20.
Can we just send an email to teachers or they will need a doctor's letter? Tomorrow is the ast day of school, so he will only skip one day.
Thanks so much...

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So What Happened?

Ok, he will go. I hope the teacher is okay. His nose is not running, it is flooding! And he still can't wipe it right. I just bought him Allegra, like Dawn said maybe it is allergy.

Updates: he has fever last night, and keep tugging his ears, so it is cold. I called the bus, front desk and email the teacher already, and asked forgiveness if he spread viruses. I must learn how to differentiate the allergy and cold. I feel so bad now :( I am a stay at home mom, so I can concentrate on my son. He can rest at home, too. But other mom and kids are not so lucky. Imagine that they must stay awake the whole night to take care of sick kids, and go to work in the morning. The kids must stay in daycare and the teacher must be quite distressed if she has many sick kids to care :( I personally disgusted if I must wipe other kid's nose.

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answers from Hartford on

If he doesn't have a fever when he's not taking ibuprofen, then he should be fine to go to school even if his nose were running. It sounds like it's just a cold. You said that his behavior is still active (as opposed to listless and lethargic) so there's no reason to keep him home.

If you think it's allergies, stop giving him ibuprofen. No fever and no body aches means he doesn't need ibuprofen.

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answers from Norfolk on

If there's fever or vomiting or diarrhea he stays home otherwise he goes to school.
Allergies aren't contagious, so a sniffling coughing kid isn't necessarily sick.
And with a lot of viruses, the most contagious time is before they show symptoms.
By the time a fever keeps them home - they've already passed the germs around 4-5 days before they ever felt warm.
Parents don't have enough sick days so they can be keeping every child home for every sniffle.

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answers from Dover on

Sneezing and runny nose without fever (and acting normal) is not a sick child. If he isn't complaining of pain and has no fever, ibuprofen is not needed. Unless something changes, I would send him to school (with extra tissues) and remind hiim to wash his hands often.

**Just read the SWH...should be fever free without medication for 24 hours before returning to school unless you know what he has is not contagious/get the all clear from the doctor (like an ear infection...which seems possible since he's pulling on the ear).

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

He should be fine to go just make sure he knows to wash his hands a lot to prevent the spread of germs. Our pre-K makes them wash their hands as soon as they walk in the DOOR!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Like Kristin, your kid's sniffles = My kid in the hospital for 2 weeks (with a $400,000 bill, and several touch and go periods).

When he was in a school with a strict 'well child only' policy... he got sick 3 times in 2 years, and missed less than a week of school.

When in school with kids who are sent sick... he missed over 3 months of school.

This summer... out of 9 weeks (half of that in daycare)... he spent 7 weeks sick. We only had 8 ER visits, though, and were only admitted once. Our bill isn't too bad, either, only about 6k that we have to pay out of pocket.

The thing about public schools is that kids are FORCED to be exposed. They have to sit right next to the kid who is coughing, sneezing, blowing, and breathing all over them. There is no way to limit exposure. It's dumb luck if they happen to sit right next to them, or 40 feet away. It's dumb luck if their pencil breaks and they have to sharpen it BEFORE the sick kid, or after, etc.

So to ME... when a parent says "Send them!!!" I personally want to drag them by the hair to the PICU and medically complex kids ward, have them watch all the kids fighting for their lives, and ask for them to "Send me!" a check for $70,000 to cover the medical expenses that their "Sent!" kid sent MINE to the hospital.

But that's me. I am sick and tired of my son almost dying becuase of other people's selfish attitudes.


My son is, in most ways, robustly healthy. He's an athlete. He's very social. He USUALLY in the past 5 years has weekly exposure to over 100 kids in his various sports and classes. But stick him in the same room with 20 kids a week, several of them sick as dogs and "Sent!" to school anyway... and he gets majorly complicated lung infections.

5 years of having weekly contact with over 100 kids, and 15 teachers... and he was sick maybe once or twice a year for a few days. In public school? We might as well just live in the freakin' hospital.

Yes. I am very cranky about this.

I get cranky when it's my son's life at stake.

((My crankiness isn't directed at you, by the by. You're honestly asking. My crankiness is directed towards parents who don't give a rats patoot about anyone other than themselves.))

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Look up your child's school to see if they have a website. If they do it probably has the sick policy on it somewhere. Generally cold symptoms without a fever are not grounds to keep your child home.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Your school website will tell you their "sick kid" policy. Usually they have to stay home if they have a fever or have been throwing up. I don't think he needs to miss but if he does, you just call the school and let them know he'll be out. Good luck.

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answers from Grand Forks on

If he feels well enough to go to school then send him, as long as he hasn't got a fever. Make sure he gets lots of fluids.

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answers from Topeka on

No child should attend school ill that is how we all become ill and some way worse than others.His nose is flooding ick guess where all that snot goes everywhere and everything he will touch.The no fever rule send them to school really exam the whole picture,if he has allergies fine they aren't contagious but if it's not you'll have a sick child again and it rotates.So throughout the year it is your call as a mom but think about others too.In my house ill kids stay home if not feeling well in 24 hrs I call our pediatrician before sending them back to school,it happens

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answers from Oklahoma City on

No fever? He goes to school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

My mom's steadfast rule was that unless you had a fever or were throwing up, you went to school. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

I'm so sorry, but I don't think you should have sent him. If you say his nose was "flooding", then he should have stayed home. If it's too much for him to wipe on his own, it's too much for the teacher to handle in a day. Not to mention he probably wasn't feeling good!

A runny nose is one thing, but a constant flow of mucus is another thing all together.

Edit* E., you are a considerate woman! Don't keep feeling bad! No parent is perfect and we have to figure it out as we go along. You are so thoughtful to have apologized to the teacher. Please don't stress over this! hugs!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i understand the ire of parents who say 'don't send your sick kid to school or they'll get mine sick.' but there are degrees of illness, aren't there? and a child with no fever (so why are you giving him ibuprofen??) and is boingy and active probably has a cold or some allergies but isn't really sick.
sore throat, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, pain, phlegmy cough, any of those would be a different story.
i'd send him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

When my son' had an episode where his nose was running like a facet, I kept him home one day. Did he have a fever? No, but like others have said, he was miserable and the class would have been miserable.

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answers from Chicago on

See, I am on the side of stay home seeing that my child is "that" kid where your minor cold turns into major illness for us. So it bothers me when kids are sent in sick.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Our school really loosend the restrictions on sick kids at school last year. Unless the fever was 101+, and the kid was lethargic, they stayed at school. Their logic was their peers had already been exposed to the virus by that point and would get sick regardless. And most likely, they got it from a classmate that was still there. If the could reduce sick days by one day per child, and increase learning, then it didn't really matter.

Look at your district guidelines, and if you are concerned about the bus just walk out and explain what is going on.

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answers from Charlotte on

Without a fever or sore throat, it sounds like allergies. Do you have any medication that would help dry up his runny nose, like Claritin? (Something that is non-drowsy.)

I would send him to school. Without a fever, I think he is okay to go to school. Allergies can last a long time, and don't "just get better", so he would have to miss a lot of school if you are just waiting for him to get better.

If his symptoms change, or if you don't have any allergy medicine, take him to the doctor.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

In daycares, we aren't allowed to send a child with a fever over 100 degrees, and they have to be fever-free for 24 hours after the fever before returning to school. If no fever, the child can go to daycare, as long as there isn't a lot of green discharge from the nose (a judgement call, of course).

Next question: Do You Think a Cold Is Contagious Without a Fever?