With winter illnesses in full swing, Michigan has been touted as the second sickest state in the nation. This is leaving many parents of sick kids wondering, ‘Is my child contagious?’ For many families, it’s already been a tough winter. I know how easily kids can pass on germs firsthand just from experience with my own kids. And, unfortunately, almost any type of infection that makes someone sick can be spread to others. However, there are some key symptoms to look for to help you decide. Watch for red eyes that could indicate pink eye or rashes that may develop into chickenpox, measles, or hand, foot, and mouth disease. Telltale symptoms also include vomiting, persistent diarrhea, or a fever. But, if you’re not sure, I recommend speaking with your doctor who can help diagnose an illness.

Should I Keep My Child Home If They Have A Cold or Ear Infection?

The common cold is contagious, there’s no way around that. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean your child has to stay home. This type of infection is caused by a virus and can last up to two weeks. However, a child is most contagious on the days when they’re feeling the worst. So, it might be a good idea to keep them home those days – both for your child and to minimize spread. Ear infections can develop because of a cold or viral infection, but they are not contagious.

How Long Should A Child Stay Home From School When Contagious?

If you think your child is contagious, unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on what the illness is and how it is manifesting in the body. A general rule of thumb to keep your child home if they have a fever, and keep them home until they have been fever-free for 24 hours. And, as always, make sure everyone in your family is practicing good hygiene to avoid getting sick by thoroughly washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes.

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