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The Flu: Should You Go to School?

Have you ever gone to school when you didn't feel so well? Everyone has probably done it, but if you think you have the flu, it's very important to stay home from school.

Here's why: influenza flu is an illness that could make some people very sick. So we want to do our best to keep it from spreading around.

Symptoms of the flu are a fever plus one or more of these:

  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • body aches
  • headaches
  • tiredness

Some people with the flu also might have diarrhea or vomiting. If you have flu-like symptoms, home is where you should be.

By staying home from school (and away from crowds in general), you make it less likely that you will make other people sick. And if it turns out you do have the flu, rest at home is what you need to get better.

What to Do

Take these steps if you feel sick:

  1. Tell your mom or dad, so they can check you out. They might want to call your doctor to talk about whether you have the flu or some other sickness.
  2. Stay home from school and other crowded places. Also, try not to make other people in your family sick. Do that by washing your hands often, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow — not into your hands! — and keeping your distance.
  3. Get rest, drink plenty of fluids, and feel better fast. Be sure to tell your mom or dad how you're feeling so they can take good care of you.
  4. Return to school only when you're feeling better, no longer coughing/sneezing, and you haven't had a fever for at least 24 hours.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2013