Child sick for first day of school - WWYD? UPDATE - Mothering Forums
Learning at School > Child sick for first day of school - WWYD? UPDATE
Heavenly's Avatar Heavenly 12:35 AM 09-06-2010
My kids are starting a new school this year. My son (going into grade 4) has bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder plus learning disorders so school is a very stressful and anxiety producing thing for him. Unfortunately he has come down with a cough and a fever (started on Thursday) and I am very worried he will not be better in the next 36 hours. I think missing the first day would be really bad for him because it is the day that they learn all the routines and meet their classmates. For the average child it may not be a big deal but for him it may cause real problems. So my question is if he is mostly better but still not quite would it be bad of me to medicate him and send him? Obviously if he still has a high fever and bad cough we won't have a choice but if he is on the mend but not quite there would you send him?

UPDATE Sept. 7/2010 - Well, he didn't go to school. He was up most of the night with a horrible cough and a 103 degree fever so I took him to the urgent care clinic after I dropped the girls off and he has bronchitis. The doctor prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler and said he should be okay to go to school tomorrow or the next day.

Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 12:52 AM 09-06-2010
I think that in his case, you should do what you feel is best for him without worrying to much about the other kids catching it.

However, my DD with a social anxiety does worse with things when she is even a tiny bit under the weather, so I wouldn't send her if she was still sort of sick.

I'm sorry things aren't going smoothly for your start of the school year.
joycenjackiesmom's Avatar joycenjackiesmom 12:54 AM 09-06-2010
Your son sounds like some of the children in my class. I think I would send him if he was on the mend--even if he only stayed for the morning he would meet his classmates on the first day and begin to learn the routines of his classroom. If he is not well enough to attend on the first day perhaps you could contact the teacher and bring him early on his first day so he/she could go over some of the routines before the other students arrive which might help your son be a little less anxious about not knowing what to do. The teacher might also be able to put his desk in area with students who may be more helpful to a new student.
One_Girl's Avatar One_Girl 01:08 AM 09-06-2010
I think it depends on how sick he is and whether you are medicating fevers. My dd had strep and then pneumonia in the same week and the symptom of the pneumonia was the cough and fever, she had nothing else except that. If he just has aches and pains then I think sending him in isn't a big deal, but if he has high fevers requiring medication for five days I suggest bringing him in just to make sure it isn't turning into something serious.
Heavenly's Avatar Heavenly 01:18 AM 09-06-2010
We haven't been medicating for the fever during the day, we've been giving him Tylenol at night. We've been giving him echinacea and today we started giving him Sambucol (Black Elderberry Extract for kids) and Oscillococcinum for kids. I'm going to give him some expectorant (plain robitussin) when he wakes again. For tomorrow we are going to try medicating the fever the whole day to see if it will give his body a break and continue with the rest of the stuff. I can hear him coughing up a storm right now but he is still asleep.

I'm hesitant to take him to the doctor because my middle child had the same thing about 2 weeks ago and we did take her and they said it was just the flu.
zebra15's Avatar zebra15 01:54 AM 09-06-2010
Honestly, with it being allergy season in 1/2 the country right now your DS is probably feeling like many of the kids at his school. A cough, elevated temp, runny nose, asthma symptoms etc. I would send him. The 1st day is important for many reasons. Im sure once your DS gets to school he will forget about his cold/cough and enjoy his day.
Give him some tylenol before school and he should be fine.
Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 03:45 AM 09-06-2010
Does he have a sore throat too? A fever for that long with a sore throat can be strep. Our doctor's office will do a strep test without an appointment. We can just call and let them know we are coming in, the nurse does the test, they call later with the results.

just to be on the safe side. (thursday through sunday seems like a long time for a fever to me)
momtoS's Avatar momtoS 04:44 PM 09-06-2010
Could you call the school and ask the teacher to meet at the end of the school day to show your ds the class and routine and his seat etc?
EVC's Avatar EVC 10:46 PM 09-06-2010
While I truly sympathize with your situation, I'm going to be the voice of dissent. Please do not send a sick child to school. I realize you have something of a "special case", but you simply do not know the situation of the other children in the class. My daughter just started K a week and a half ago, and has just come down with Scarlet Fever (granted I don't know whether someone in her class infected her, or if she picked it up somewhere else, but school is the only place where she is in close contact with other children). We are uninsured, had to go to the emergency room for treatment, and are now facing hundreds of dollars of medical bills which we can't afford to pay. In other possible scenarios, a child in school might have a compromised immune system and exposure to something that might be a simple virus for other kids, could cause serious damage to them and send them to the hospital. You just never know who you might infect and what the consequences will be for that person. And while the possibility of getting sick is a part of every normal life, knowingly sending a sick (and likely contagious) child to school just ain't right in my book.

Now, if you are CERTAIN that he is no longer contagious, then that's a different story. Then it just depends on his own comfort level. But if you think there is a chance that he is still contagious, no way.
Heavenly's Avatar Heavenly 11:24 PM 09-06-2010
I honestly do not know whether he is contagious. He is on his 5th day of illness so I am thinking there is still a possibility that he is contagious. Despite that we will be sending him. It is just too stressful of a situation for him not to send him. We've been pumping him full of immune boosters and we'll be giving him a dose of tylenol before school if he still has a fever at all. He was a lot better today than yesterday so I am hoping by morning he'll be mostly on the mend. I agree that sending a sick child to school isn't fair. I do totally understand that. But for this one day I really feel it's necessary. If for some reason he is sicker in the morning we won't send him but as long as he's still on the mend he'll be going. Thanks for all the input!
Violet2's Avatar Violet2 11:41 PM 09-06-2010
I really think its unfair to expose anyone else to this bug.

There are kids in that class with asthma. The flu is not benign for them or their families (I have asthma. DD gave me a bug that put me in the hospital this past Spring and I am going to be dealing with the medical fall out for a year. Situations like yours are why I am hoping to homeschool.)

I would talk to the teacher about other ways to integrate your child into school. I can't believe your only option is to send him regardless of its impact on anyone else.

So no. I would keep him home. I don't think is is fair to him or anyone else.

Besides, the impression you will make as the parent who sends sick kids to school is not necessarily the one you'll want to live with for the next year.

And if you aren't sure if he's contagious call the ped and ask.

Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 11:45 PM 09-06-2010
If he still has a fever or feels crummy, I wouldn't send him. I understand the issues with having him miss the first couple days - I just don't think it would be worth it if he is truly still ill.
KCMichigan's Avatar KCMichigan 12:03 AM 09-07-2010
I would keep him home until you get the ok from a Dr or are positive he is not contagious.

Not only do you put other kids and teachers at risk of being sick ( for 5+ days), but you also will send him with a lower immune system and put the risk that he will pick up something new.

As PP said- even in light of you unique situation---you should think that there may be students in the classroom (or staff members) that could seriously get sick if your son is still contagious. He may have gotten sick for 5 days...someone else it may be twice as long or they may develop complications.

As a parent----I would be upset if I saw an obviously ill child at school. Flu-ish symptoms can be serious.

He would not be the only child to miss, the first two weeks are often ones of transition and kids moving classes, in/out of the area.

His anxiety will be worse if he is feeling ill on top of the first day of school. High anxiety also lower immune function.

If a fever is still present, the illness is most likely still contagious. A person should be fever free for 24 hours (NO Tylenel or Motrin) before returning to school/work.

The school nurse will also potentially send him home if he looks/acts ill. That would be more upsetting to most kids than just staying home anyway.
Heavenly's Avatar Heavenly 02:21 PM 09-07-2010
Updated in original post.
Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 02:25 PM 09-07-2010
poor guy. I hope he feels better soon.
Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 02:40 PM 09-07-2010
I'm so sorry that he is still sick. I hope the antibiotics kick in quickly!
joycenjackiesmom's Avatar joycenjackiesmom 12:29 AM 09-08-2010
Hope he feels better soon!
One_Girl's Avatar One_Girl 12:31 AM 09-08-2010
I hope he gets better quickly!
St. Margaret 11:16 AM 09-08-2010
Poor guy, I hope he bounces back quickly!

As I teacher, I REALLY appreciate when parents stick to the 24-hours free of fever rule before sending their kids. It does no one any good to have a teacher out sick for a week... a sub just isn't the same, the teacher gets more than a week behind in all the behind the scenes work, and if different parents send their sick kids, it can happen over and over again to the poor teacher. I can't believe how many times I've had kids practically passing out in my classroom, or coming right up to my face to whisper they are too sick to do the work... UGH. The germs are all part of being a teacher, but a little consideration is appreciated.
EVC's Avatar EVC 02:50 PM 09-09-2010
Hope your guy is feeling better that you were able to work with the teacher to ease his transition. I'm really sorry that things worked out this way