1. Vomiting doesn’t always signal sickness
If your kid is barfy, wait a half-hour to an hour to see if it’s a one-time puke. Vomiting could be due to carsickness or too much sun, or the result of too much crying or phlegm.
2. Allergies can present like a cold
If your child has hay fever, let daycare or your kid’s teacher know in advance so they don’t suspect something else and send him home. Include a list of his specific symptoms (such as watery eyes or a drippy nose).
3. Your kid’s rash may not be contagious
Get a doctor’s note confirming that it won’t spread.
4. She drank too much OJ
Too much juice or certain foods (like that handful of dried apricots) may be the reason behind your child’s diarrhea.
5. Fever isn’t always a deal-breaker
Many viruses may produce a low fever, but they don’t always necessitate a sick day. It’s fine to send your kid to school with a slight fever (lower than 38.5C/101.4F), provided they feel well enough, are attentive and playing, and your school or daycare will permit it.
6. She’s plain faking
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re suspicious.
– Is there a test today? She could be bluffing to cover her nerves.
– Do the symptoms make sense? A runny nose paired with a stomach ache doesn’t add up.
– Is she eating? A healthy appetite could be a faking-it red flag.
– Does the headache come and go, or did she make a miraculous recovery right after you called the school to report her absent? Bogus symptoms tend to lack staying power.
A version of this article appeared in our October 2016 issue with the headline, “Signs that a sick day might be unnecessary,” p. 73.