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Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

Back to school: When to keep your child at home

Back to school: When to keep your child at home

Posted on July 15th, 2021

With covid restrictions eased, teachers, children and parents alike will no doubt be looking forward to what will hopefully be a much more settled school year. Whilst it was a necessity to keep covid infection rates down, isolating at home has undeniably caused a great deal of disruption for all concerned. That said, even when covid restrictions have been phased out completely, there will still be times when it is best for children to stay off school. Here the children’s healthcare experts at YourGP explain when and why.

We are all now well aware that if your child experiences a high temperature, a new continuous cough, and / or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, they must stay at home and take a covid test. There are of course other times when it is best to keep your child at home including:

  • Fever: Rest at home until their temperature returns to normal.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea: Stay at home for 48 hours after their symptoms have gone.
  • Chicken pox: Stay away from school until all the spots have crusted over.
  • Ear infection: Treat at home until they are feeling better.
  • Impetigo: Keep them off school until all the sores have crusted over, or for 48 hours after they start an antibiotic treatment.
  • Scarlet fever: Your child can go back to school 24 hours after starting antibiotics.

When children return to school after the summer holidays, many are predicting a rise in the number of cases of common colds and illnesses. One theory is that children will have had much less exposure to colds and other common viruses, having spent so much time at home over the past 18 months, and it is therefore plausible that they may have lost some of their immune defences, leaving them more susceptible when they return to school.

However, there are things we can do to help minimise this. One is get the winter flu vaccination as soon as it becomes available. At YourGP, this is usually available from September, weeks before the NHS, and we offer it to most children from 6months old right through to adults, depending on individual suitability.

Other ways to reduce your children’s risk of infection is to form good hygiene habits at home:

Good hygiene begins at home

  • Encourage your children to wash their hands at home and at school with soap and water. Show them how to lather and scrub for at least 20 seconds.
  • Encourage them to cover their mouth when they cough and sneeze, ideally into their elbow rather than into their hands.
  • Make sure they throw all used tissues in the bin.
  • If they wear face masks at school or on the journey to school, ensure they are fitted properly and remind them to touch their face and mask as little as possible.

Remember, if you do keep your child at home, it is important to phone the school as soon as possible to explain why.

If you would like to discuss any children’s healthcare issue with a trusted GP, email reception@your.gp or call 0131 225 5656 to book your appointment.

To be able to attend a clinic where I am very obviously accepted by everyone there is a great start. To follow it with an hour with Dr Myskow listening, guiding and supporting me and my loved ones as I began to live my life for real as a Transman has made me feel less afraid or isolated

Liam B – Tyne and Wear – Lyndsey

YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

Independent Healthcare Team
Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
0131 623 4342 | hcis.clinicregulation@nhs.net