What happens when your child says, "I'm sick"? Do you keep her home or send her off to school?

Following these steps can help you find out, decide and care for your child. First, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does your child have an illness that will make other children sick? Examples of this is are a bad cough, cold or vomiting.

  • Will your child need constant care from a grown-up?

  • Will the illness make it hard for your child to learn or play?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep your child at home. If you're not sure, call your child's doctor. Be sure to call the doctor if your child has an elevated temperature, taken with a mouth thermometer.

Decide if your older child can stay home alone, if need be. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your child mature and old enough to stay home alone?

  • Has your child ever stayed home alone? If so, was your child good and did it go well?

  • Does your child know what to do in an emergency?

If you must leave your child alone, call every few hours to see how she is doing. Make sure your child knows where she can reach you.

If you stay home with your child, help her feel better. Try these tips:

  • Give your child plenty of fluids. This will help prevent her from drying out (getting dehydrated).

  • Comfort your child. Hold her hand or hug her.

  • Play with your child. Do a puzzle, color or read.

  • Change your child's bed sheets.

Medical Reviewer: [Fincannon, Joy RN MN, Lesperance, Leann MD, Michael Steiner, MD] Last Annual Review Date: 2010-02-01T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright: Copyright Health Ink & Vitality Communications

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If you have the flu, you are contagious one day before symptoms appear and up to five days after.