When Your Child is Sick, School or Doctor?

Some mornings, it’s tough to make the decision about your child. Maybe he’s been sick overnight with coughing and fever, but seems fine in the morning. Or maybe your daughter wakes up with a strange rash and seems sluggish. In both cases, you know your child best and have a “sixth sense” about what to do. But we’d like to give you some general guidelines to help make your decision easier.

Start your decision-making process by watching your child in action. If he or she hasn’t slowed down while performing normal activities, that’s a vote for school. If they’re dragging their feet after being up all night with symptoms, that’s a vote for home or visit to the doctor.

Symptoms That Always Mean a Sick Day Home from School

These common symptoms should always make you decide to keep the child home or talk to your medical team:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pinkeye; return to school after being on medication a day or two
  • Hand, foot, mouth disease; return after doctor visit and recommendations

Symptoms Indicating a Doctor Visit

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes in consciousness

Symptoms That Permit School Attendance

  • Cold symptoms – stuffy nose, sore throat
  • Ear infection, if under control
  • Rashes when no other symptoms, like fever, are present

While our list here is far from complete, please know that we are always available to take your calls for guidance at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers. Your school or daycare center will also have guidelines to help your decision based on their experience with sick kids. Be sure to ask for a list of their rules. Finally, go with your gut. As a parent, you often know instinctively which choices to make for your children’s, and schoolmates,’ health.

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24/7 Pediatric Care Centers are Jacksonville and Jacksonville-area beaches pediatricians providing care for children from newborn to 18 years. Our 24-hour office also provides services for non-life-threatening illnesses to registered patients 24 hours a day.

24/7 Pediatric Care Centers is not a substitute for Emergency or Trauma-related medical care.
If you feel your child is experiencing a life-threatening event, immediately call 911.