School is now in full swing across much of the state and parents will sometimes face an early morning decision about whether their child is too sick to go to class. Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk says while it may not always be easy to determine the severity of the illness, consideration should be given to how teachers and other students will be affected.

“That child needs to stay home so they don’t spread it to the other kids, so we need to keep them home when they’ve got something infectious,” Quinlisk says. There are a host of symptoms that should warrant a sick day, according to Quinlisk.

“A fever, a severe sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea, skin infections that are open…or sores in the mouth,” Quinlisk says. Each child and illness is different, Quinlisk notes, so that may affect the amount of time away from the classroom.

Quinlisk adds it’s also important to keep vaccinations up to date. She suggests getting a flu shot when they become available this fall.