Stay at Home?

Q: How do I gauge when my child should stay home from school?

A: If an otherwise healthy child has a fever, even a low-grade one, he shouldn’t go to school because fever indicates active, infectious disease. An actively vomiting child stays home, of course, but if it’s been 12 to 24 hours since vomiting occurred, he may go to school depending upon how he looks. A child with a stomachache goes to school unless he’s feverish or vomiting, and a child complaining of a headache absolutely goes to school. A child with an earache stays home only if fever is present, and one with a mild cough but no fever goes to school. Children with a continuous cough stay home. If not infectious, it’s certainly disruptive to the class!

David I. Cohen, medical director of Banner Estrella Medical Center's emergency department.