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Soldiering on: Feeling sick at school


As a parent, this is a very common scenario. Your child wakes up with a sore throat or a slight cough - the start of a cold or flu. The question is, "Should we keep them home or send them to school?"

Every parent cares about their child's health, but life's demands, especially during the academic year, can complicate this decision. Balancing education with well-being can be challenging, especially when a cold seems not too severe, but still uncomfortable for your child. Here's a practical guide to handling those tough days.

Early Signs

When a child feels unwell at school, early signs usually show first. Both teachers and health professionals have observed that you can't gauge a student's true condition, as kids tend to hide symptoms to prevent alarming their parents or teachers.

Spotting the Signs

When a child feels unwell at school, early signs of a cold usually show first. Both teachers and health professionals have observed that kids tend to hide symptoms to not alarm their parents or to avoid missing classes. This can make getting a true sense of their condition challenging.

Making the Call

Deciding whether to keep your child at home or to encourage them to soldier on depends on various factors. A general guideline is to take into account symptoms that significantly affect their learning or comfort during classes. Talking to teachers and staff can help in making an informed decision. It's crucial not to underestimate symptoms like those of a cold, as they can impact concentration and the ability to participate in school activities.

Managing Symptoms

If your child needs to stay in school, managing their symptoms effectively is key. Take steps to ensure they can remain comfortable and prevent their condition from getting worse, which can help them have a more productive day. Encourage them to take breaks if they're feeling too fatigued.

Medications and First Aid

Teachers must have proper authorization to administer medication. If your child is getting over a cold, ensure they take any necessary medications before classes. A dose of pain reliever can help manage symptoms like a sore throat or headache.

Hydration and Nutrition

Encourage your child to drink lots of water. Discomfort and fever can cause dehydration, so make sure they have a full water bottle. A nutritious breakfast can boost their energy, and consider offering warm soup or tea for lunch for added comfort.

Preventative Measures

While you can't keep your kids home every time they feel a bit under the weather, instilling good habits can help prevent the frequency of colds. Ensure your child gets sufficient sleep, as lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making them more susceptible to getting sick and affecting their ability to do school work.

Good Habits:

Stick to the basics. Make sure your child gets enough sleep, eats well, and stays clean. Regular handwashing is key, especially before meals. These habits can help their immune system fight off many common illnesses.

Weather Preparedness:

Dress them appropriately for the weather to avoid getting too cold or too hot, which can impact their comfort and susceptibility to illness, ultimately affecting their home work.

Seasonal Vaccinations:

Depending on the time of year, vaccines can be a big help. For example, flu shots can notably lower the chances of catching the flu, a common disruptor of routines and well-being.


Recognise that your child's health is a top priority! When deciding whether to keep a sick child home or send them to school, always think of what's best for them. Consider how they're feeling, the severity of symptoms, and the chance of spreading illness. Talking to teachers is important, and creating a cosy healing space at home matters. 

Teaching them about their limits and signs of feeling worse is empowering. Encourage them to speak up if they're not well at school. With your help, they'll become skilled at looking after their health—both at school and beyond.


Author: MyEdSpace
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