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Parents need to spot child's sick days
As children get into a school routine, it can be a struggle for them to get enough sleep, eat a proper breakfast and remember all their school supplies. But one of the most important things parents need to remember is that it can be easier for a child who is healthy to pay attention in the classroom and to learn.

Lisa Morrison, head registered nurse with the Glynn County Public School System, knows it can be difficult to decipher when a child is genuinely sick or trying to avoid school.

Though it is a parent's discretion whether or not to send a child to school in that situation, Morrison says parents can contact a child's school nurse if they have a question.

"School nurses are here to guard every student, to the best of our ability. I always tell parents, if there is a question, please call me, or if they are able to stop by the school nurse's office, their school nurse will be glad to address any concerns or early morning issues," she said.

School nurses do not diagnose or prescribe treatments, but Morrison has a quick list of tips from Children's HealthCare of Atlanta, the pediatric teaching hospital for Emory University and Morehouse University schools of medicine, that parents can use to make an early morning assessment, especially if a doctor or nurse cannot be reached.

"Your child should stay home if they have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, has vomited more than once, has diarrhea (loose stool), has a frequent cough, constant pain in the ear, stomach or somewhere else, or has a rash that has spread," Morrison said.

A child with a fever of 100.4 or higher should stay home until his or her temperature is normal for 24 hours without using medication. If a child has a minor cough, runny nose or other cold symptom, but does not have a fever, he or she could likely still attend school.

While some complaints might not seem serious in the morning, they can worsen during the school day. Morrison says parents should take into consideration that if a child will be uncomfortable at school with a health problem, he or she may not be able to focus on the day's lessons.

Though it can be hard for working parents to find care for a child who does not go to school, parents need to remember that sending a sick child to school could spread an illness.

However, a child who constantly complains of pain that causes him or her to miss school could be trying to avoid school. A child's health care provider is the best person to diagnosis any conditions, Morrison said.

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.

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