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Ask Dr. Nandi: 'Is my kid contagious?'

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 23:09:55-05

(WXYZ) — Many winter illnesses are in full swing and that leaves many parents with sick kids wondering "Is my child contagious?".

It’s been a tough winter so far for many families. And I know firsthand how easily children can pick up and pass germs along as I’ve had plenty of experience with that with my own kids.

But how do you know when a child is contagious and needs to stay home?

Well, I can tell you pretty much that any type of infection that makes someone sick has the potential to spread to others. But there are some key symptoms that can help you decide - like if your child develops a fever, starts vomiting or has persistent diarrhea. Also watch for red eyes which could indicate pink eye or rashes that may develop into chickenpox, measles or hand, foot, and mouth disease.

If you’re not sure, then I recommend you speak with your doctor who can help diagnose the illness.

The common cold is contagious. But that doesn’t mean your child has to stay home because this type of viral infection can last up to two weeks.

However a child is most contagious during the worst days, so it might a good idea to keep him or her home during this time. As for ear infections, they are not contagious. But they can develop because of a cold or viral infection that is.

How long should a child stay home if a parent thinks they are contagious?

There is no easy answer as it really depends on what the illness is. But the general rule is if they have a fever, to keep them home until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours.

I also think it’s important to remind children that washing hands thoroughly, and covering coughs and sneezes will help keep them and others from getting sick.

On this week’s all-new Dr. Nandi show, are vaccinations safe for our children? It’s one of the most controversial issues not only here in the US but around the globe. The World Health Organization claims 2 to 3 million deaths are prevented every year because of vaccines. On the other side of the debate, critics believe they are dangerous and cause irreparable damage to our children. Tune in this Saturday, January 11th at 5 pm to hear a powerful discussion on the merits of vaccinations for children with Dr. Partha Nandi, MD and guests.