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When to Keep Your Sick Child Home From School

Are They Really Sick or Just Faking?

If you suspect that your child is faking an illness, there are some ways to determine the truth. There are some questions you may want to consider if your child tends to be feeling ill at certain times. Some of these questions may include:
  • Does your child "suddenly" not feel well right after a break or weekend?
  • Is your child showing certain mood swings or behavioral changes that may indicate an underlying reason he or she does not want to go to school?
Getting to the root of a larger problem may be a good place to start if your child seems to be faking symptoms to stay home from school. If you see a pattern of your child asking to stay home from school without any significant physical symptoms, you may consider talking to your child's healthcare provider or the school nurse to discuss your concerns. Ask your child's pediatrician whether the symptoms may be physically or emotionally based.

Signs It's Time to Stay Home

There are several symptoms that do warrant your child staying home. Some of these include:
  • A severe sore throat that has lasted more than 48 hours, especially if it's accompanied by a fever
  • Large amounts of discolored nasal discharge
  • Severe ear pain
  • Persistent fever higher than 100.4°F, including a fever that requires control with medication
  • A significant rash, especially when there are other symptoms
  • An uncontrolled cough
  • Diarrhea
  • A severe headache, especially with a fever
  • Any condition that you think might be serious or contagious to others.
Do not allow your child to return to school until after symptoms such as these are gone for at least 24 hours. These symptoms may also need to be checked out by your child's healthcare provider.
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