Getting sick can happen to any student at any time. While your first instinct may be to stay home from school when you’re under the weather, this isn’t always the best option or even possible. Even if you have an understanding teacher, you can easily fall behind on coursework and exams.

However, going to school sick can make your symptoms worse and risk spreading illness to classmates and teachers.

This comprehensive guide will provide tips on how to care for yourself when sick so you can get back on your feet quickly without falling irreparably behind. We’ll cover when staying home is an acceptable option, what to do when going to school is unavoidable, how to approach your teachers and request extensions, effective home remedies to relieve symptoms, and more.

Follow this advice to be a responsible student and get healthy as efficiently as possible.

Know When to Stay Home

When you’re feeling under the weather, it can be difficult to determine whether you should tough it out and go to school or stay home and rest. However, it’s important to prioritize your health and the well-being of others by knowing when it’s best to stay home.

Here are some guidelines to help you make that decision.

Check with parents first

Before making any decisions about staying home from school, it’s important to consult with your parents or guardians. They have your best interests at heart and can help you determine if it’s necessary to take a sick day.

They may also want to consult with a healthcare professional to get a better understanding of your symptoms and condition.

Symptoms that warrant absence

There are certain symptoms that indicate it’s best to stay home from school. These include a fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, vomiting, diarrhea, severe coughing or difficulty breathing, severe headache, or contagious conditions such as chickenpox or strep throat.

It’s important to consider not only your own health but also the health of your classmates and teachers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), staying home when you’re sick can help prevent the spread of illness to others. It’s estimated that 80% of common infections are spread through close contact with others.

By staying home, you can help reduce the risk of spreading germs and protect those around you.

Avoid infecting others

One of the main reasons for staying home when you’re sick is to avoid infecting others. When you have a contagious illness, such as the flu or a cold, it’s important to keep your germs to yourself. By staying home, you can prevent the spread of illness to your classmates, teachers, and other members of the school community.

If you do need to stay home, make sure to follow proper hygiene practices, such as covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding close contact with others. These measures can help further prevent the spread of germs.

Remember, staying home when you’re sick is not only beneficial for your own recovery but also for the health and well-being of those around you. It’s a responsible choice that can help prevent the spread of illness and keep everyone safer and healthier.

Communicate with Teachers

When you’re sick and can’t go to school, it’s important to communicate with your teachers to stay on top of your assignments and coursework. Here are some tips on how to effectively reach out to your teachers:

Email ahead of time

If you know in advance that you won’t be able to attend school due to illness, it’s a good idea to email your teachers ahead of time. This allows them to be aware of your situation and gives them time to prepare any materials or assignments you might need.

Explain the situation clearly

When emailing your teachers, be sure to explain your situation clearly. Let them know the nature of your illness and how long you expect to be absent from school. This helps them understand the severity of your situation and allows them to provide appropriate accommodations.

Ask about remote learning options

With advancements in technology, many schools now offer remote learning options for students who are unable to physically attend class. In your email, inquire about any online platforms or resources that your teachers may have available for you to continue learning from home.

This way, you can stay engaged with your studies even while you’re sick.

Request extensions

If you’re unable to complete assignments or exams due to your illness, don’t hesitate to request extensions. Teachers are often understanding and willing to accommodate students who are unwell. Be sure to provide a timeline for when you expect to be able to submit the work, so they can make arrangements accordingly.

Get notes from a classmate

If you miss any class lectures or discussions, ask a classmate if they can share their notes with you. Having access to the material covered in class will help you catch up on any missed content and ensure that you stay up to date with your studies.

Remember, open and clear communication with your teachers is key when you’re sick and unable to attend school. By reaching out to them and following the tips mentioned above, you can minimize any disruption to your learning and ensure a smooth transition back into the classroom.

Take Care of Yourself at Home

When you’re sick and can’t go to school, it’s important to take care of yourself at home. By following these tips, you can help speed up your recovery and get back to feeling your best.

Drink plenty of fluids

Staying hydrated is crucial when you’re sick. Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal tea, or clear broths, can help loosen mucus, soothe a sore throat, and prevent dehydration. It’s recommended to drink at least 8 cups of fluids per day.

Get lots of rest

Rest is essential for your body to heal. Take this opportunity to catch up on your sleep and give your body the time it needs to recover. Make sure to create a comfortable environment in your bedroom, with a cool temperature and minimal noise.

Eat nourishing foods

While you may not have much of an appetite when you’re sick, it’s important to eat nourishing foods that will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to fight off the illness. Focus on consuming foods that are easy to digest, such as soups, fruits, and vegetables.

Take over-the-counter medications

If you’re experiencing symptoms such as congestion, cough, or fever, over-the-counter medications can provide relief. Always read and follow the instructions carefully, and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions.

Use a humidifier

A humidifier can help alleviate nasal congestion and dryness in the air. It adds moisture to the environment, making it easier to breathe and soothing irritated nasal passages. Make sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

Apply warm compresses

If you’re suffering from aches, pains, or a sore throat, applying warm compresses can provide relief. Use a warm towel or a heating pad on the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time. This can help reduce inflammation and ease discomfort.

Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and give it the care it needs when you’re sick. If your symptoms worsen or persist for an extended period, it’s important to seek medical attention. Stay positive, rest up, and before you know it, you’ll be back at school and feeling great!

Attend School Carefully if Necessary

When you’re sick and can’t go to school, it’s important to prioritize your health and well-being. However, there may be instances where attending school is necessary, such as for important exams or presentations.

In such cases, it’s crucial to take certain precautions to prevent the spread of illness and ensure your own comfort.

Prevent spreading illness

One of the most important things you can do when attending school while sick is to prevent the spread of illness to others. Make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. This helps to contain the germs and reduces the risk of infecting those around you.

Wash hands frequently

Regular handwashing is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of germs. Use soap and water, and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Pay particular attention to washing your hands before and after eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing or sneezing.

Wear a mask

Wearing a mask can provide an additional layer of protection against the spread of illness. It helps to filter out airborne particles and prevents you from inhaling or exhaling droplets that may contain germs.

Masks are especially useful in crowded places or when you are unable to maintain a safe distance from others.

Sit near the door

When attending school while sick, try to sit near the door in your classroom if possible. This allows you to easily step out for a moment if you need to cough or sneeze, without disrupting the flow of the class. It also helps to minimize close contact with other students.

Avoid PE and other physical activities

Engaging in physical activities can put additional strain on your body when you’re sick. It’s best to avoid participating in activities such as Physical Education (PE) or sports during this time. Resting and allowing your body to recover is crucial for a speedy and full recovery.

Visit the school nurse if symptoms worsen

If your symptoms worsen while at school, it’s important to seek help from the school nurse. They are trained to provide basic medical care and can offer guidance on how to manage your symptoms. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you’re feeling unwell or if you have any concerns.

Make Up Missed Work

When you’re sick and can’t go to school, it’s important to make up the work you’ve missed. Here are some tips to help you get caught up:

Prioritize assignments

Start by prioritizing your assignments based on their due dates and importance. Focus on completing the most urgent tasks first, so you don’t fall behind.

Schedule time to get caught up

Set aside dedicated time to catch up on your missed work. Create a schedule or to-do list to keep yourself organized and ensure that you allocate enough time for each assignment.

Ask classmates for help

If you missed any important class notes or discussions, reach out to your classmates for help. They can provide you with the necessary information and help you understand any concepts you may have missed.

Use teacher office hours

Take advantage of your teacher’s office hours or schedule a time to meet with them. They can provide guidance, clarify any questions you may have, and offer additional resources to help you catch up.

Look over slides and readings

If your teacher uploads slides or readings online, make sure to review them thoroughly. Take notes and highlight key points to ensure you have a good understanding of the material.

Turn in makeup work promptly

Once you’ve completed your makeup work, make sure to turn it in promptly. This will not only show your commitment to catching up but also prevent any further delays in your academic progress.

Remember, it’s important to communicate with your teachers and let them know about your absence. They may be able to provide additional guidance or accommodations to help you navigate through missed assignments.


Getting sick can put students in a difficult position when it comes to balancing health and education. While staying home from school isn’t always an option, you don’t have to suffer through the school day feeling miserable.

Take steps to care for yourself at home when possible and protect those around you from illness. Communicate proactively with your teachers and have a plan to make up missed work so you can recover fully.

Following this comprehensive guide will allow you to be a responsible student while giving your body the rest it needs.

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