La Jolla Mom

When To Keep Your Sick Preschooler Home From School

BY La Jolla Mom

Several times already this year, I’ve hesitated whether or not to send my daughter to school. I’m pretty strict about keeping her home and always err on the side of caution. The times when I hesitate are usually when she’s full energy but is recovering from a cough or has a mild runny nose. The preschool sent home this helpful chart so I refer to it and see where she falls.

Keep your sick preschooler home if these symptoms are present

  • Fever of 100ºF or more taken under the arm
  • Feeling poorly: Unusually tired, pale, lack of appetite or cranky
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea: Three or more watery stools in 24 hours
  • Running nose: Thick green or yellow mucus or constantly running nose
  • Sore throat or ear ache with fever or swollen glands
  • Eye infection: Thick mucus or pus draining from the eye
  • Rash: Undiagnosed body rash, especially with a fever or itching

The running nose always trips me up. Sometimes it just runs a little, but I worry it’s a sign of a cold coming so sometimes I keep her home. Then I feel paranoid when it turns into nothing. I just read an article on (I searched to try to find it again with no luck) that says as long as the kid has symptoms, he or she is contagious and that the color of nasal mucus is irrelevant. WebMD says that mild cough and runny nose is OK for school.

It’s your call, really. Once when I was the volunteer mom in the class, a child was dropped off there with a bad cold who had no business being at school. Our entire family fell ill after that and had to cancel all sorts of plans. That, I felt, was totally unfair.

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4 thoughts on “When To Keep Your Sick Preschooler Home From School

  1. I always keep my kids home (to rest and not infect others) when they have any symptoms. It has been tricky with my oldest though as he has allergies. After a few years of dealing with the allergies, I have gotten pretty good at determining if it’s that or a sickness coming on.
    I’m TOTALLY with you- it’s so unfair when parents take sick kids to school, etc… when they know they are sick.
    I do my part to keep our germs away from healthy kids and parents so I keep hoping the people around us will do the same.

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