It looks like Covid-19 is on the way. Kid has a cold. Keep home?
March 5, 2020 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Kiddo has typical cold symptoms (sore throat, sniffles, feeling gross). No fever. Our schools have us send kids when they have colds. However, husband's work has recently asked employees to stay home with either Covid-19 symptoms or a common cold. Nearish city has several new Covid-19 cases and has declared a state of emergency, and we have a few showing up now in our county. I hesitate to send my kid to school because I don't want to potentially further endanger already compromised people.
posted by moira to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think it would be a kindness to everyone to keep the kid home. People are so frightened right now; it's not unlikely your kid would get sent home anyway once someone realizes he has respiratory symptoms. And for the kid's sake, it's much better to be at home resting than to be exposed to potentially more serious stuff.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:19 PM on March 5, 2020 [16 favorites]

Please keep your child at home.

I’m immunocompromised and was hospitalized for five days with influenza A and rhinovirus in January. I missed a total of nine days of work. Maybe your kid actually has the flu. Your kid gives whatever he has to another kid who gives it to a parent who works in my office. That person comes to work sick, which lands me in the hospital again. Maybe this time I get pneumonia. According to WHO, annual worldwide flu deaths range to well over half a million people. It doesn’t have to be coronavirus to be very dangerous to people like me.

I know lots of people really don’t have a choice, but It sounds like you do. Thank you for asking.
posted by FencingGal at 6:30 PM on March 5, 2020 [18 favorites]

The CDC's advice: stay home when you are sick.
posted by zippy at 6:32 PM on March 5, 2020 [7 favorites]

As someone who works in a school, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for even considering keeping your child home. Kids who come to school sick get very little out of the school day and infect the people around them; those people then go on to spread the germs to the vulnerable people in their lives. Keeping him home will only help him and a whole horde of people who could be badly affected by a common cold.
posted by corey flood at 6:32 PM on March 5, 2020 [12 favorites]

Sniffles probably indicate rhinovirus rather than Covid-19, but you should probably be keeping your kid home (if you can afford to, which I assume you can since you're asking) even for a cold.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:32 PM on March 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, I feel so relieved to have those answers. I've always thought it was stupid to send sick kids to school, regardless. I'll keep my kiddo home.
posted by moira at 6:33 PM on March 5, 2020 [23 favorites]

as a follow up to my post, the CDC seems to define "sick" on another page as a fever and respiratory symptoms, so ... their guidance is not as clear as it should be.
posted by zippy at 6:35 PM on March 5, 2020

Response by poster: (To clarify my comment about the stupidity of sick kids in school, because I know many don't have a choice: I think the whole system that makes that necessary is stupid, not the people having to do it.)
posted by moira at 6:46 PM on March 5, 2020 [12 favorites]

From what I can tell there have been mild cases of COVID-19 that consist only of sore throat, mild cough, and sniffles, with no fever. But unless we really misunderstand the transmission of this thing, it's statistically unlikely that your kid has it.

But we have colds right now, and they suck, so please stay home.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:27 PM on March 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

The World Health Organization says that if you live in a area where the virus is spreading you should "Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover."

So, if it is starting to show up in your local area, you should be more careful.
posted by metahawk at 7:30 PM on March 5, 2020 [6 favorites]

We're also in a coronavirus-affected area (closer to the "epicenter" than you) and my kids have both been home since Monday because one of them has a cold. It's definitely something I would have sent her in with under normal circumstances, she has normal energy but just a runny nose, but with this virus going around the last thing I'd do is get other kids or teachers sick.
posted by potrzebie at 9:12 PM on March 5, 2020

Thanks for keeping your kid at home,

Signed a school administrator who has two hospitalized students because parents sent their kids with the flu to school and those kids infected about 40 kids, two very seriously
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:39 AM on March 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm also immunocompromised and really appreciate when people keep their germs at home. I haven't been as unlucky as FencingGal (yet) but similarly... I catch everything that goes by and I'm already out of sick days and it's awful. Please keep your kid at home until they recover.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:10 AM on March 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

It seems like a sensible precaution but there is not now, nor has there ever been, a medical reason to keep kids home from school if they have a typical cold. The CDC does not recommend that children stay home on a preventative basis unless they have a fever of 100F / 38C. Colds are contagious well before they show symptoms, and kids are close quarters with poor hygiene. So essentially everyone who is going to get the cold has already gotten it before the parent even has a chance to hear from the kid that they are not feeling well. If they're not feeling well enough to participate, by all means keep them home, I do even when they don't have a fever. But it's not because they're going to infect anyone.

Colds are fundamentally different from flu. Colds make you feel junky and congested but effectively never are fatal. Flu is high fever and misery and pretty dangerous. From a communicable disease standpoint, they are apples and oranges and the CDC guidelines reflect that.
posted by wnissen at 9:18 AM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

CDC also says it is difficult and sometimes impossible to know whether you have a cold or the flu based on symptoms alone. Thank you again for keeping your child home.
posted by FencingGal at 12:23 PM on March 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thanks for hesitating, and for your decision to keep your child at home. COVID-19 can present differently in children than in adults:
"Kids with this novel coronavirus, maybe they are responding like they would any other coronavirus, where they get a little runny nose, a little cough, or very mild symptoms [...] the virus seems to be transmitted just fine, and it still appears that younger kids under 10 to 15 years of age simply aren't getting disease, or if they are, they're not getting too many symptoms," [Dr. Buddy] Creech [associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital] said.

This does not mean that children can't transmit the virus to other, more vulnerable members of the community. (NBC News, March 4, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:08 PM on March 6, 2020

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