How to tell if children aren't well for school

Published on Tuesday, Nov 13, 2007

Sniffling and sneezing? Coughing and feverish? When are a child's symptoms severe enough to stay home from school? The rule of thumb, according to Medina General Hospital's School Health Services, is to keep children home if they are experiencing any of these symptoms: fever over 100 degrees, vomiting, diarrhea, frequent cough, persistent pain (earache, stomachache, etc.) or widespread rash.

If there is any doubt, consult your doctor. If you decide to send your child to school, ''Make sure the school knows how to reach you during the day,'' says Lori Hogue, a registered nurse and supervisor of Medina General's School Health Services.

To help with decision making, Hogue offers these guidelines, grouped by condition and how soon students can return to school:

Conjunctivitis: 24 hours after treatment is started.

Cough: Once the cough is no longer persistent with thick or constant nasal drainage.

Diarrhea: 24 hours after last episode of diarrhea without use of medicine.

Fever: 24 hours after fever-free.

Impetigo: 24 hours after treatment starts, sores should be covered.

Ring worm: 24 hours after treatment starts, area should be covered.

Strep throat: 24 hours after treatment starts and fever-free.

Vomiting: 24 hours after last episode of vomiting without use of medicine.

Finally, WebMD suggests that parents remain savvy. If your child frequently claims to be ''sick'' for school, but is fine on weekends, that could be a sign of trouble at school.