Colds, fevers, coughs, flu, and gastrointestinal disorders and conjunctivitis, exanthematic diseases such as chicken pox, rubella, measles and lice are the main problems that children face during the school year. But when a child gets sick, how long does he have to stay at home? How long should recovery take? And how can you determine whether the child really recovered or not?
Do not hurry!
“Be patient and do not rush to return him to school too soon,” says pediatrician Giuseppe di Mauro, president of the Italian Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics (Sipps). He explains: “In the first years of life and at school age, recovery is very important, because as a result of infections, the child’s immune system tends to turn into mild immunosuppression: this means that it is easier to regenerate.”
Therefore, it is desirable that the child stay at home for a few more days: not only to avoid infecting his comrades, but also to reduce the risk of relapse.
But what are the appropriate time intervals for full recovery? “For respiratory diseases (otitis, pharyngitis, rhinitis), as well as for colds, there are no fixed periods: each case must be analyzed individually, depending on the diagnosis and the general condition of the child,” says Di Mauro, “In general, we can say that if the child still has fever, coughing or sneezing, it is advisable to stay at home until all the symptoms have passed. ”
And if the disease is in a fever? “The ideal is to wait 24 hours, which will indicate a complete recovery of the child,” the expert advises. Remember that in the case of fever, a febrifuge should be prescribed only at temperatures above 38 ° and only in the case of a real child’s discomfort, preferably after 48 or 72 hours. This is because a fever, which is often a manifestation of a viral infection, can not only pass without the use of drugs, but also become an ally of the child, creating conditions hostile to the survival of the virus.
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On the other hand, for other diseases spreading among children, it is possible to establish a standard time for going to school, taking into account, however, that the clinical picture of an individual subject should always be evaluated. “For example, for gastrointestinal disorders, you need to wait until the end of vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain,” says Di Mauro.
And again: “In the case of conjunctivitis, a child can return to class two days after starting treatment, while for diseases such as measles, rubella, chicken pox (which can still be easily prevented with appropriate vaccinations), you will have to wait not less than five days. After this period, the child is no longer contagious, but, obviously, we must always evaluate what we feel. The state of well-being of a person is always very subjective. ”
On the other hand, it should also be remembered that exantmatous diseases significantly weaken the immune system, so it is usually easier to infect a child when he returns to society.