Kids Not Feeling Well: Stay home or go to school?

School began three weeks ago. Three days in, Lexie complained her throat hurt. No fever but it was clear she had some congestion. The next morning came the familiar debate – do we send her to school because it is only a cold (or perhaps allergies) or do we keep her home?

No one likes to have to be at school or work when they don’t feel well. But the reality is that sometimes you do just need to muddle through it. And though colds can hit you hard, I don’t want Lexie to think she needs to stay home whenever she feels bad. And Lexie is the kind that would use any excuse to stay home (or up late at night).

So, the next morning, her lymph nodes are swollen. Her throat and stomach hurt. She wasn’t running a fever or throwing up – the keys to an automatic stay at home decision.

My initial reaction was to give her some cold medicine and send her to school. Yes, I may be receiving a call from the nurse later that Lexie is in her office feeling ill. But once up she might feel better and be able to make it through the school day.

But it always pulls at me that she looks and sounds so bad. She was pale and clearly feeling poorly However, I have made the decision before to keep one of the kids home only to have them running around like nothing is wrong a few hours later.

After a discussion with both my husband and then Lexie, it was decided she could stay home. I stressed to her that she couldn’t play Xbox all day, and if she began running around like nothing was wrong that I would immediately take her to school.

I did leave her home alone while I went to the dentist. When I came home, she was asleep. After lunch and some more rest, she began to perk up. By 2 p.m., she was feeling better. And she did go to school on Friday with no symptoms, which made me wonder if it was allergies verse a cold. Or perhaps the rest did its job and let her body fight off the cold.

In this case, it was a good decision to stay home. She is better and didn’t miss too much at school since it was only the fourth day of classes. But next time who knows if it will be the right decision. It would be much easier if I could stick to the fever or vomiting equals staying home and all else means going to school, but obviously it is not as easy as that.

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