Parents strive to safeguard their children’s health during flu season, but despite their best efforts, the flu Sick can still strike. When your child falls ill with the flu, keeping them home from school not only aids their recovery but also plays a crucial role in preventing the virus from spreading to other students. This article, brought to you in collaboration with Clorox®, offers valuable insights on identifying when it’s best to keep your child home from school.


It’s advisable to keep your child home if they register a temperature of 100.4°F or higher. Fever indicates an ongoing battle against infection, making your child both vulnerable and contagious. Wait for at least 24 hours after the fever subsides without the use of medication before considering their return to school.

Vomiting and Diarrhea:

Persistent vomiting and diarrhea are compelling reasons for your child to stay home. These symptoms can be challenging to manage at school and signify that your child can still spread the infection. Wait for a minimum of 24 hours after the last episode before contemplating their return to school.


If your child displays extreme fatigue and falls asleep during activities, it’s unlikely they will benefit from attending class. Ensure your child stays hydrated and gets proper rest. Excessive fatigue, beyond what’s typical for a mild illness, might indicate a more serious condition, requiring immediate evaluation by a pediatrician.

Persistent Cough or Sore Throat:

A persistent cough can disrupt the classroom and is a primary means of viral transmission. If your child has a severe sore throat and a persistent cough, keep them home until these symptoms are almost gone or easily managed. Testing by a doctor may be necessary for conditions like strep throat, which are highly contagious but treatable with antibiotics.

Irritated Eyes or Rashes:

Red, itchy, watery eyes can hinder your child’s ability to focus in class. In some cases, rashes may indicate an underlying infection, warranting a visit to the doctor. It’s generally advisable to keep your child home until these symptoms clear up or after consulting with a healthcare professional. Prompt diagnosis is crucial for conditions like conjunctivitis (pink eye), which spreads rapidly in school settings.

Appearance and Attitude:

If your child appears pale, lethargic, irritable, or disinterested in daily activities, it’s a sign that more recovery time at home is needed.


Symptoms like earaches, stomachaches, headaches, and body aches often suggest your child is still combatting the flu. To prevent virus transmission, keep them home until pain or discomfort subsides.

When in doubt about whether to keep your child home, contact the school nurse for guidance. Most schools provide guidelines for safe return to school after illness, which can also be found online.

How to Manage Sick Days:

Preparing for your child’s sick days can be challenging. Consider discussing options with your employer before flu season hits. Explore possibilities like remote work or telecommuting, ensuring you have the necessary equipment at home. Additionally, find out how many sick days you have available and inquire about the possibility of taking a day off without using accrued sick time. Collaborate with your partner, if applicable, to share at-home caregiving duties.

Establish a support network by reaching out to family members, friends, or babysitters who can assist with your child’s care when needed. Organize a dedicated space with over-the-counter medications, tissues, and antibacterial wipes for flu season preparedness.

Maintain rigorous hygiene practices, emphasizing handwashing, coughing or sneezing into elbows, and ensuring everyone in the household stays hydrated and well-rested.

Lastly, employ preventive measures such as avoiding the sharing of towels, dishes, and utensils with the infected person, minimizing close contact, and regularly disinfecting shared surfaces.


Determining when your child is ready to return to school after illness can be challenging. Prioritize their health and the well-being of their peers by adhering to the guidelines mentioned in this article. Trust your parental instincts and consult with healthcare professionals or school staff when needed. By taking proactive measures, you can help ensure a healthier and safer school environment during flu season.


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