If your child is exhibiting any of the primary symptoms of Coivid-19 — a high temperature, a new and continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste — then they must stay at home and be tested for Covid.
But what about other illnesses, many of which have symptoms similar to Covid? Luckily, the NHS has a wealth of information about how best to proceed if you’re unsure about whether to keep them at home.
If you do decide to keep them off then ensure you notify the school or nursery beforehand. If however they’re well enough to go to school but could be infectious, the NHS recommend letting their teacher know of the situation ahead of sending them in.
So, what should you do if your child is ill but does not have coronavirus symptoms or has returned a negative test? Here’s what the NHS has to say:
Coughs and colds
“It’s fine to send your child to school with a minor cough or common cold. But if they have a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes.” Although encourage them to throw away used tissues and wash their hands often.
Keep them at home until it has passed.
Be sure to keep them home until the scabs have crusted over, which is likely to take about five days after first appearing.
“There’s no need to keep your child off school if they have a cold sore. Encourage them not to touch the blister or kiss anyone while they have the cold sore, or to share things like cups and towels.”
There is no need to keep them home, although ensure you get advice from a pharmacist.
If it is severe, or combined with a high temperature, keep them off school until it passes.
Headlice and nits
There is no need to keep them at home and they can be treated without seeing a GP.
“They’ll need treatment from a GP, often with antibiotics. Keep them off school until all the sores have crusted over and healed, or for 48 hours after they start antibiotic treatment, ” say the NHS. “Encourage your child to wash their hands regularly and not to share things like towels and cups with other children [when they’re back] at school.”
Children can still go to school with a sore throat, however if they develop a fever they should stay at some until it passes. The combination of these two symptoms could be a sign of tonsillitis.
Vomiting and diarrhoea
Keep them at home for two days after their symptoms have passed.