Children's medicines

A day off school?

It can be hard deciding when to keep them off school

Not every illness should mean you need to keep your child from school. Be sure to inform the school on the first day of their absence. If your child is ill, it's likely to be due to one of a few minor health conditions, which you can often treat at home. You know your child best, and whether or not they are too ill to attend school.

Common conditions

  • Coughs & colds - with a minor cough or cold they may attend school. If they have a raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, they should stay off school and see a GP. If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, see your GP.

  • Raised temperature - with a raised temperature, they shouldn't attend school. They can return 24 hours after they start to feel better.

  • Rashes - can be the first sign of many infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and measles. If your child has a rash, check with your GP or practice nurse before sending them to school.

  • Headache - a child with a minor headache doesn't usually need to be kept off school. If the headache is severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep the child off school and see your GP.

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea - children with diarrhoea and/or vomiting should definitely be kept off school until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have gone. Most cases of diarrhoea and vomiting in children get better without treatment, but if symptoms persist, see your GP.

  • Sore throat - a sore throat alone doesn't have to keep a child from school. If accompanied by a raised temperature, your child should stay at home.

  • Chickenpox - if your child has chickenpox, keep them off school until all their spots have crusted over.

School nurse says

Ask yourself the following questions:

Is my child well enough to do the activities of the school day?
If not, keep your child at home.

Does my child have a condition that could be passed on to other children or school staff?
If so, keep your child at home.

Would I take a day off work if I had this condition?
If so, keep your child at home.