Is Your Child Sick -- or Faking It?

Tools

Story Updated: Nov 21, 2012

Maybe your son suddenly developed a stomachache on the day of the big quiz. Or your daughter has a mysterious cough after playing back-to-back soccer games yesterday. For whatever reason, you're not sure if your child is really sick -- or just sick of school. In my experience as a school nurse, I've found that there are a few ways you can tell the difference. Be on the lookout for these telltale signs for when a child is faking sick:

  • Inconsistent complaints. If your daughter complains of a stuffy nose one minute, followed by a stomachache and then a headache the next, it may be a sign she's pretending.
  • Disappearing symptoms. In my office, I have a rule that I don't see non-emergency cases for the first hour of school. That's because when kids become engaged with activities and friends, they forget all about being "sick." So take note if you notice that your child's cough vanishes when he's playing with his brother. Kids who are under-the-weather also tend to doze off throughout the day, so be wary if your son seems completely alert while watching television or playing computer games.
  • Sudden recovery. If a child seems fine after you decide to keep her home from school, that's a surefire red flag!

So should you let him stay home? My rule: If a child doesn't have a fever, hasn't vomited or doesn't have any obvious symptoms (such as diarrhea), I would send him to school. But don't discount his complaints: If he keeps mentioning a symptom, like a headache or stuffy nose, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to rule out any illnesses or other health issues.

Add a comment

Name:

Comment: 250 Characters Left

WBNG and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the above comments or other interaction among the users. We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit user-generated content at any time and for any or no reason in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice, although we have no duty to do so or to monitor any Public Forum.

Featured Professional
Dr. Michael Fallon

Cancer Center

Lourdes Regional Cancer Center


Watch our Docs on Call Interviews:
Interviews with Dr. Roney
Interviews with Dr. Anne
Interviews with Elizabeth Sweeney
Interviews with Michael Fallon
Interviews with Joe Viscello
Interviews with Michelle Williams
Interviews with Dr. Madhuri Yalamanchili
Interviews with Dr. Sandra Haynes
Interviews with Dr. Francine Rainone
Interviews with Dr. James Kondrup
Interviews with Dr. Michael Barrett
Interviews with Dr. Madhukar Bhoomireddi
Interviews with Nurse Julann Ashman
Interviews with Nurse Mary Mancini
Interviews Dr. Rayford Petroski
Interviews Dr. Ghassem Mangouri
Interviews Azur Kelly
The LOURDES Regional Cancer Center is the area's premier facility dedicated to spiritually based, comprehensive cancer care. Since 1957, the Lourdes Regional Cancer Center has been providing the Southern Tier of New York with outstanding cancer care.

Now, nearly fifty years later, the LOURDES Regional Cancer Center continues that mission. Since 1971, the Lourdes Regional Cancer Center has been accredited as a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program. Most recently, Lourdes has been awarded the 2008 Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award by the Commission on Cancer American College of Surgeons. The Award is designed to recognize cancer programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. Lourdes is one of only 95 facilities in the US to receive this award.

Today, Lourdes is among the largest and most sophisticated community cancer centers in the country. Here within the region's premier facility dedicated to the fight against cancer we've gathered the area's top physicians and oncologists. We've assembled select teams of cancer nurses and specialists and we've brought to the Southern Tier some of the newest weapons to fight cancer.

Pastoral care, nutrition services, and rehabilitation services are also available for both outpatients and inpatients. Lourdes Regional Cancer Center also maintains a link with the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) database. This database provides the latest information on research advances and new treatments, as well as emerging topics on the influence of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle factors in the development of cancer.

For more information visit www.lourdes.com.