We're in the thick of cold and flu season now, and nearly every day I've assessed my kids' sniffles and coughs and tried to decide whether they're well enough for school.
Runny nose, no fever, slight cough? You're going to school.
Stuffy nose, no fever, no cough? School for you.
No runny nose, fever of 101, no cough? Sorry, no school for you today.
But there are days when I'm on the fence. Is that a fever, or were you just running around the house? Is that cough bringing up phlegm, or just a reaction to a tickle in the throat? Who has a math test they didn't study for?
According to a nationwide study conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates on behalf of Triaminic, 78 percent of parents faced at least one situation in the past year when they were not sure whether or not to keep their children home from school when they had cough or cold symptoms.
1.) A fever of 100.4 or higher
3.) Symptoms that could prevent him or her from participating in school activities, such as fatigue, lack of appetite, body aches, productive cough (one that is breaking up and bringing out congestion), or headache.
Those are guidelines that many doctors seem to apply to their own kids, which works for me -- in fact, my youngest two are home right now, hacking away (as am I). But what works for you? How do you decide whether your kid needs to stay home from school?
Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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