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- Illnesses A-Z: When to keep your child home
Illnesses - Directory/Information
Please review the information and resources provided below about common/ communicable diseases and when to keep your child home from school.
The common cold should have mild symptoms which may include stuffy nose, sneezing, and mild cough. When to keep your child home: Child may attend school if he/she is able to participate in school activities.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
When to keep your child home: Child may return to school 24 hours after treatment is started.
When to keep your child home: If the cough is persistent and irritating, it may be disruptive to learning. Please keep your child home.
When to keep your child home: Child should be kept home for 24 hours after the last episode of diarrhea without the use of medicine.
When to keep your child home: Child should stay home if temperature is 100.4 degrees or more. Keep home until fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medicine.
Fifth disease is a viral infection caused by human parvovirus B19. Fifth disease is not a reportable disease in Wisconsin. In most instances, fifth disease is a relatively mild, self-limited rash illness of childhood; recent studies indicate, however, that infection with parvovirus B19 in rare instances can lead to serious complications in people who are immunosuppressed.
When to keep your child home: By the time the rash appears, children are no longer contagious and do not need to stay home.
Access the Fifth Disease Fact Sheet.
Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a mild viral illness that can occur at any age, occurring most often in children under age 10. The disease is characterized by vesicles (small blisters which contain clear fluid) that occur inside the mouth, on the gums and on the side of the tongue. On rare occasions, person’s with the virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease may develop viral meningitis. Infants who develop oral vesicles may stop nursing and become dehydrated. Most cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease occur in summer and fall.
When to keep your child home: Students can come to school unless fever is present or child cannot maintain hygiene or avoid close contact with others.
Access the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Fact Sheet.
Influenza is a contagious disease caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs). It can cause mild to severe illness, sometimes leading to death. Influenza symptoms often begin suddenly, with:
- Body Aches
- Dry Cough
- Nasal Congestion
- Sore Throat
The best way to prevent influenza is to get vaccinated each year. When to keep your child home: Child should stay home until fever resolved for 24 hours without medicine.
Click to Access:
Norovirus (Stomach Flu)
Noroviruses (previously called Norwalk-like viruses or SRSVs) are a group of viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans, often referred to as "stomach flu." However, norovirus is completely unrelated to influenza, a respiratory virus.
When to keep your child home: Child should be kept home until able to keep food down.
Access the Norovirus Fact Sheet.
Pediculosis (Head Lice)
Pediculosis is an infestation of head lice, which infect the head and neck and attach their eggs to the base of the hair shaft. Lice move by crawling and cannot hop or fly. The lice feed on human blood, which can cause severe local itching. Head lice infestation is spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the transmission of human lice.
Each school year the issue of head lice becomes a concern for some families. The following evidenced based information is intended to increase head lice awareness so that parents can take steps at home to help prevent their children from acquiring head lice.
Parents should examine their child's head regularly, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, for crawling lice and nits, if your child exhibits symptoms of a head lice infestation. If crawling lice or nits are found, all household members should be examined for crawling lice and nits every 2 to 3 days.
- Persons with live (crawling) lice or nits within 1/4 inch or less of the scalp should be treated. Do not treat any individual that does not have lice.
- Only 1 in 10 transmissions occur at school.
- The most common outbreaks are seen at the start of the school year, after winter break, spring break, all times when the students are out of school for extended periods.
- At the time live lice are found, the student has probably had the infestation for a while.
- Transmission occurs most often during playdates and sleepovers.
- Transmission can occur from shared hair care items, hats, etc. but is less likely.
- Lice do not jump and do not have wings so they cannot fly. They crawl.
- Children diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.
- Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
- If you find head lice on your child, please notify the school and properly treat him/her at home. Continue to examine all family members for 2 weeks.
When to keep your child home: Child may return after their hair has been treated, clothes changed and there are no live lice present.
Access the Pediculosis (Head Lice) Information.
The National Association of School Nurses, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) all agree that classroom and/or school wide head lice screening programs have not had a significant effect on the incidence of head lice in the school setting over time and have not proven to be cost effective and therefore no longer recommend this practice. Doing these screenings also makes it impossible to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the students.
See "Conjunctivitis "
Ringworm is an infection of the skin which is caused by several types of fungi. The scalp, feet, groin, fingernails, or toenails can also be affected. Anyone can get ringworm. Children are more susceptible to certain types of the ringworm fungi, while other types occur equally in all age groups. Ringworm involving the nails is more likely to occur following an injury to the nails.
When to keep your child home: Child may come to school as long as area is being treated and is covered.
Access the Ringworm Fact Sheet.
Streptococcal pharyngitis (sore throat), or "strep throat," is an infection of the throat and tonsils caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as Group A Streptococcus (GAS).
When to keep your child home: Child may return to school 24 hours after treatment has started and the temperature is less than 100.4 degrees.
Access the Streptococcal Pharyngitis Fact Sheet.
Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Chickenpox is a highly communicable disease caused by the varicella virus, a member of the herpes virus family.
When to keep your child home: Child must stay home from school until all lesions are dried and crusted, usually 5 to 6 days.
Access the Varicella Fact Sheet.