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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health School absence for children with infective diseases

School absence for children with infective diseases

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Children with certain infectious diseases are usually advised to stay away from school both for the benefit of the child as well as to ensure that the infection is not transmitted from one child to the other.


Here is a list of most common infections with their duration of infectivity during which child should stay away from school.

Chicken pox: 5 days from the first appearance of rash.


Herpes simplex(cold sores): Children with cold sores need not be excluded from school.


Hand, foot and mouth disease: There is no need for any child to stay away from school unless they do not feel well enough to go.


Impetigo: Until the skin has healed or until 48 hours after any antibiotic treatment has begun. Children coming into contact with someone with impetigo do not require any treatment or exclusion from school.


Measles/Rubella: 5 days after the beginning of the rash.


Scabies: Till the day after treatment has started.


Slapped cheek syndrome(Fifth disease, caused by Parvovirus): By the time the rash has appeared, the child is no longer infectious. For this reason, children with the infection do not need to stay away from school.


Common cold: Children with a cold should stay away from school only if feverish and/or feeling miserable. Contacts of such children should go to school as normal.


Influenza: Children should not return to school until they have had at least 48 hours without a fever, headache, muscle aches, severe tiredness, sore throat and cough, as they are still infectious. Any contacts of children with flu should go to school as normal. It is also advisable for them to stay away from people who are likely to suffer more serious illness, should as the very young, the elderly and those with chronic health problems.


Tuberculosis: Usually will not be allowed to attend or work in school until the doctor is sure that they are not infectious. Once they are no longer infectious they may safely attend school, even if they are still taking treatment.


Whooping cough21 days after the onset of the severe episodes of coughing if they have not been treated with antibiotics. If treatment has been started, children should stay away from school for 5 days from starting antibiotics. The contacts of children with whooping cough do not need to stay away from school.


Conjunctivitis: Children whose eyes are sticky or producing pus should stay away from school or nursery until the infection has cleared. Children who have ‘pink eye’, but whose eyes are not producing pus do not need to stay away from school or nursery. Contacts of children with the illness should go to school as normal.


Glandular fever: Should stay off school until they feel well again. All other contacts should go to school as normal.


Head lice: Children with lice infestation do not need to be excluded from school but they should be treated as soon as possible to minimise transmission to others.


Hepatitis A: 7 days after onset of jaundice or until they are well. Contacts of cases should also stay away from school, and should see the GP if they have symptoms suggestive of the illness.


Meningitis: Children with meningitis will be too ill to go to school. Contacts of cases should go to school as normal. It is very rare for other children in a school to develop the infection, so there is no need to keep children at home if there has been a case reported in the school.


Mumps: 5days after the onset of swollen glands.


Scarlet fever: 2 days after the start of antibiotic treatment.

Tonsillitis: Can resume to school once they feel better.


Diarrhoea/Vomiting: 48 hours after the diarrhoea and/or vomiting has stopped.