A runny nose or a slight cough is generally not a sign that your child needs to stay home from school. However, if they are experiencing additional symptoms or don't feel well enough to be able to concentrate and participate at school it may be best to keep them at home. Remember that a child should stay home with a temperature that is over 100 F without medication, or if he/she has nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The common cold and the flu both have similar symptoms which affect the respiratory system. In general the symptoms of the flu are more severe than the cold. Below is a brief guideline from the CDC on the different symptoms and how they vary. If you become ill and are unsure if you have a cold or influenza contact your primary care provider.
|Fever||Occasional||102-104 F; lasts 3-4 days|
|Aches and pains||Slight||Usual, often severe|
|Fatigue||Mild||Can last 2 to 3 weeks|
|Extreme exhaustion||Never||Early and prominent|
|Cough||Mild to moderate||Can be severe|
|Complications||Sinus congestion|| Bronchitis, pneumonia;
can be life threatening