As more and more American couples become dual-income families, school nurses and teachers have witnessed an increase in the number of children coming to school ill.
It's a difficult call, knowing when to keep your youngster home, and too often harried parents send a child to school who should be home in bed.
On the other hand, some kids who claim to be sick are well enough for the rigors of the classroom. It's up to the parent to decide when it's a math quiz or missed homework that is making the student "feel sick."
Monitoring Everyday Illness
Just about all children get colds, upset stomachs, conjunctivitis, ear infections, strep throat, and the flu. While these usually are not serious, they can cause distress, discomfort, and interrupt your child's daily life.
They also interupt the daily lives of most parents.
While some parents might feel their child could sustain a day in school when feeling poorly, they must consider the other children in the class. It's unfair to send an infectious child to school.
Because fevers are lowest in the early morning, don't use a low or normal temperature as the only guideline for determining if a child is sick. Look for poor coloring, sleep patterns, loss of appetite, and listlessness, too.
All working parents should have backups in place--people who can step in and take care of the kids if you can't stay home from the office. Make sure your backups have backups!
Working parents should talk to their supervisors to discover policy about taking personal days. Some companies are more understanding than others, and a few even provide in-house daycare for mildly ill children.
Kids are naturally healthy and with just a few precautions you can keep that way all winter long. Make sure they eat well, get plenty of sleep, and practice good hygiene.
Encourage your kids to wash their hands every time they use the bathroom, before they eat, and when they get home from school or being outside. Health care professionals have learned that thorough hand washing with soap helps prevent the spread of colds and other contagious ailments.
The old saying applies: an ounce of precaution is worth a pound of cure -- and a whole lot of upset and scrambling to care for an ill child.