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By Casey De Farria
Casey De Farria
30 May, 2022

How long do I need to keep my child at home? (We have answers!)

It’s one of the trickier questions when it comes to managing sick little ones who attend school or daycare. So how long do you need to keep your child at home, based on their illness/infection?

Please note that this information is a guide from Healthdirect – individual daycares, schools and situations may require different exclusion lengths. Always see your doctor to confirm, or if you are concerned for any reason. You can also check out the Healthdirect Symptom checker here.

Chickenpox – keep them home until all blisters have dried, which is usually around 5 days after the rash first appeared.

Colds – If your child has a common cold, they are able to return to school/daycare when they are well; however, cold and flu symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of COVID-19. Even if your child’s symptoms are mild, they should get tested for COVID-19 immediately and isolate at home until they have received a negative test result.

For more information see these COVID-19 FAQs about childcare and school exclusions.

Conjunctivitis – Keep them home until the discharge (pus) from their eyes has stopped — unless otherwise advised by your doctor.

Diarrhoea – Keep them home until they have not had a loose bowel motion or other symptoms for 24 hours and if there is no cause identified. They may need to stay home for 48 hours until the cause has been identified.

Gastroenteritis – Keep them at home until they have not had a loose bowel motion or other symptoms for 24 hours and if there is no cause identified. They may need to stay home for 48 hours until the cause has been identified.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease – Keep them home until all blisters have dried.

Head Lice – Little ones do not need to be kept home as long as effective treatment begins before the next school day.

Influenza A (the flu) – Keep them home until they are well and recovered – watch our recent live on the ‘flu here.

Colds and flu symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of COVID-19. Even if your child’s symptoms are mild, they should get tested for COVID-19 immediately and isolate at home until they have received a negative test result.

For more information see these COVID-19 FAQs about childcare and school exclusions.

Measles – Keep them home from the onset of symptoms to 4 days after the rash appears.

Mumps – Keep them home for 9 days or until the swelling goes down (whichever is sooner).

Rubella (‘German Measles’) – Keep them home until they have recovered fully, or for at least 4 days after the rash first appeared.

Scabies – Keep them home until the day after they start appropriate treatment.

Threadworms – Exclusion is not necessary.

Whooping Cough (pertussis) – Keep them home until 5 days after they started antibiotics, or for 21 days from the beginning of their cough.

You can view a full breakdown including signs and symptoms, and whether a vaccine is available for each of the above-listed illnesses here (Reference – Healthdirect) – or click on the heading for each, for fact sheets.

If you have any questions about an illness or infection not listed, please let us know!

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