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When to return an ill child to school

(28 Posts)
CathodeRayTube Tue 31-Jan-17 01:57:23


I wondered if I might ask a question about when to return an ill child to school?

Ds had a vomiting bug on Friday, and has been clear of actual vomiting for 72 hours. However, I have been introducing food gradually and we over-stepped the mark and gave him a potato waffle yesterday and he was miserably unwell for two hours after that, though we did not actually get the waffle back, iyswim. We have put him back on plainer foods and are continuing to gradually reintroduce his normal diet.

The school is sending me threatening letters insisting that ds must be back at school 48 hours after the vomiting ends.

I wondered does everybody else's kid bounce back within 48 hours like this, and is it just my family that doesn't?

Typically when we have a stomach bug we have the nasty symptoms for a day or two, and then a long period of recover with nausea and restricted ability to eat for up to ten days.

I'd be really glad to know if this is at all normal, as I need to go and talk to the GP about it and I have no idea if our standard family reaction to bugs is usual amongst other people.


Sagggyoldclothcatpuss Tue 31-Jan-17 02:31:49

If he's got what we all just had, it's going to take longer than 48 hours. The vomiting lasted a few hours. The misery, fatigue and generally being "ill" hung around for about a week!
The school is being unreasonable, but probably only because they have to be.
I work on the principle that I'm the parent, I'll decide when my child is well enough to attend and the if they don't like it they can kiss my arse. wink
Unless your child has a couple of days off a week consistently, I'm not sure what they can actually do! Keep your child home until he's better.

NightCzar Tue 31-Jan-17 02:37:35

We don't tend to get stomach bugs (colds and ear aches are our thing!) but I think that you are doing the right thing. I'd be tempted to tell the school he'd vomited again. If he was "miserably unwell" then it's probably tantamount to the same thing.

If he can't eat properly then he will feel weak and unable to join in all school activities. He may still be contagious. If that's the case he obviously shouldn't be at school and you should reply to their letters as such. Perhaps it's a proforma letter they issue to anyone off after a couple of days?

It's so odd though because it seems just the opposite of most places who don't want you anywhere near them with the slightest chance of infection!

TheMysteriousJackelope Tue 31-Jan-17 03:26:08

We're not in the UK and the rule for us is no sooner than 24 hours after fever or vomiting. If my child was very weak after an illness I would keep them off an extra day to recover as if they go back worn out from illness, they will be too exhausted to learn and it will drag out the recovery.

CathodeRayTube Tue 31-Jan-17 03:42:51

Thank you so much for those kind replies. I was beginning to think the world had lost all compassion entirely. I'm so relieved to know that I am not the last one left who thinks ill children should be cared for at home.

Sagggy yes it does sound similar. I've got the bug now and though there was no actual vomiting with me, it was a close run thing and I haven't been able to eat at all since Sunday morning. I reckon if I'm good by next Monday I will be very very happy. My guess is that it will take longer.

I wrote back to the welfare officer explaining that the vomiting has only stopped because he is not eating and that it comes back if he eats normal food. Hopefully that will help.

Thanks so much for your replies. I will sleep easier for having read them. smileflowers

irvineoneohone Tue 31-Jan-17 06:38:09

This thread and other one about too tired to participate PE at school would really worry me. Does he have any undiscovered underlying health issues? I would investigate.
My ds was always ill and took longer to recover when younger, but after doing a lot of things to improve his health, he is rarely getting ill now. (Though he has chronic illness for life.)

Chrisinthemorning Tue 31-Jan-17 06:46:51

I think it's worth keeping them off for a day or so to make sure they are properly better.
DS is in reception and just had a horrible cold/ cough/ temperature. He was off Friday and Monday but I kept him off Tuesday as well. He was bouncing about the house on Tuesday so I knew he was ok to go back.
Reason, he's only 4 and I think it's one thing for adults to battle on going to work a bit poorly, I don't think children should have to.
The school day is very full on and there's no time for a bit of a rest. Lunch they only get one option. They have to play out even if it's freezing.
I think the 48 hour rule for vomiting is a minimum- as in you can't go back earlier. It doesn't do schools any good to have poorly children sent in, they won't learn anything and they just spread it round resulting in more absence. Our TA ended up off poorly the other week and she's normslly very stoic.
Hope your DS is better soon. I wouldn't send him back until he is happily eating and keeping down a range of normal foods. Just ring school and explain, they will be fine I'm sure.

Sirzy Tue 31-Jan-17 06:47:49

Has he had a lot of time off school already? It seems strange that they are sending letters (plural?) after missing 2 days of school?

CathodeRayTube Tue 31-Jan-17 07:29:32

He had a lot of absence in the last two years, but we started him on supplemental iron in the summer and he's had 100% attendance since then. We're just still feeling our way to find out what he can manage and what he can't. What we could really do with is a bit of space to do that gently rather than being forced to chuck him back into school asap and getting nasty letters.

Part of the problem is that I've also got the bug and haven't eaten since Sunday and still can't and I honestly need the pressure from the school like a hole in the head right now. Hey ho.

PotteringAlong Tue 31-Jan-17 07:33:25

It's 24 hours at my DS's school. He was sick Sunday, off yesterday, is as right as rain and will be going back in today.

Sirzy Tue 31-Jan-17 07:34:04

Send him back in with a packed lunch of light foods and a note saying he is just to eat what he fancies.

Penfold007 Tue 31-Jan-17 07:57:31

I think you need to see your GP about DS. Ten days of nausea and restricted ability to eat after a simple upset stomach really isn't 'normal'. The iron supplement your giving him is that medically prescribed or something you've decided to do? Too much iron is a very bad thing. You have other concerns re your son including extreme fatigue and a concern he may be coeliac so he's following a restricted diet. He and you both deserve to know if there is an underlying cause for his issues, please get medical advice.

irvineoneohone Tue 31-Jan-17 07:59:41

Obviously different person reacts different to illness, but lack of strength as a family indicates something genetic, or something needs to be done to boost immune system as a family.

My ds had less than 85% attendance in first 2 years of school, but never had problem with school re: attendance.
Also on the other thread you mentioned that someone said he may be anemic, so you started him on iron supplement. Does he have proper diagnosis? If not, why wasn't he been tested by medical professional who suggested it?

PinkSwimGoggles Tue 31-Jan-17 08:09:40

has your ds been investigated for coeliacs?
being a 'sicky' child and having anaemia can be symptoms of that.

but for now, he's still unwell so I would keep him home another day.
maybe go for a walk outside for a little for fresh air and gentle exercise.

TataEs Tue 31-Jan-17 08:10:41

my nephew has had a tummy bug. he was sick on thursday night/friday. but is still off as he is still ill. fever, nausea, lethargy etc.
the school is being ridiculous. keep your child off as long as they need.

CathodeRayTube Tue 31-Jan-17 08:32:01

Thanks for all the thoughts.

I have been struggling to find a good GP for years, but have at last found one so I hope we can make some progress once we are well enough to go and see him.

It's interesting that there is such a division of opinions. So many people who do suffer for a longer time with bugs and so many who do not. It clearly affects different people in different ways.

irvineoneohone Tue 31-Jan-17 08:43:46

6 years old suffers so long after simple bug and cannot cope school PE does not fall into normal 6 year old category. Anemia and celiac can both be tested quite easily(My ds has done it .) Def. go see your GP.

CathodeRayTube Tue 31-Jan-17 08:57:03

Irvine I understand it's not possible to test for coeliac if he's not eating wheat though is it? He's off wheat and if I start him eating wheat again his nose swells entirely shut and then he can't sleep, so going back to a wheat diet is not feasible. It's a huge catch 22 and I don't know how to get out of it.

irvineoneohone Tue 31-Jan-17 09:05:24

I don't think so. It is possible, unless I was totally mistaken for what he was tested for. He has confirmed severe food allergy, and also been tested for intolerance as well later on.
My ds is allergic to wheat, so never had wheat products since he was tested positive for it at 8 month old. He was tested for celiac at around 3/4 years old at top London hospital, and confirmed he wasn't celiac(intolerance), just allergic.

irvineoneohone Tue 31-Jan-17 09:07:41

Nose swell symptom is more like allergy rather than intolerance, imo. Test for allergy is a lot easier than intolerance.

user1471537877 Tue 31-Jan-17 09:09:49

Hi Op

DS and DH have had this nasty little virus and it's quite an odd one

DS was only sick for a couple of hours, DH felt sick but never was. It took a whole week before they were eating properly

In my personal opinion but as a qualified nurse I only send kids back to school when they are eating properly, you are the expert in your child not the school and if he goes back too soon he will just pick the next bug up

Regarding the coeliac disease, DS is a coeliac as am I, DH is not but both responded similarly to the bug so I doubt that it had a bearing

That said if you're concerned a good reboot of his gut flora with something like optibac will do no harm and may help

And no they can't test without gluten being ingested, but they could do a genetic profile which will show if he carries the two main genes associated with coeliac disease

CathodeRayTube Tue 31-Jan-17 09:46:27

Thanks so much user1471537877. That's really helpful to know.

Do you, by any chance, know what the genetic profiling test is called? Maybe I could ask to have that done.

I'll try again with optibac. I did give it to him before and I know that that mix of good bugs helps because he used to be dairy intolerant, and it went away after treatment with the same mix of probiotics.

Thanks for the kind encouragement to keep him home until he is well. I appreciate it.

irvine He's definitely not properly allergic to anything. We had that test done when he was a toddler and it definitely came back negative.

Scaffleen Tue 31-Jan-17 09:52:48

If it's the same bug we had it lasts about a week. My son was only sick for 24hrs so I sent him back to nursery 48hrs after last episode of vomiting. He was there for a day and was perfectly fine but the next day he had really bad diarrhoea so he was off the rest of the week. I'm sure it was the same bug but he seemed fine then it came back.

CathodeRayTube Tue 31-Jan-17 09:52:52

I accidentally typed "fairy intolerant" in that lost. LOL! grin

CathodeRayTube Tue 31-Jan-17 09:53:08

Post I mean. Ooops.

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