When to keep your child at home and phone your GP
Do not send your child to school or childcare if any of the following is true.
Your child has:
• a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more
• any other common symptoms of coronavirus such as a new cough, loss or changed sense of taste
or smell, or shortness of breath
• been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
• been living with someone who is unwell and may have coronavirus
You will need to:
1. Isolate your child. This means keeping them at home and completely avoiding contact with other
people, as much as possible. Your child should only leave your home to have a test or to see your GP.
2. Phone your GP. They will advise you if your child needs a coronavirus test.
3. Everyone that your child lives with should also restrict their movements, at least until your child
gets a diagnosis from their GP or a coronavirus test result. This means not going to school,
childcare or work.
4. Treat your child at home for their symptoms.
When it’s okay to send your child to school or childcare
It’s usually okay to send your child to school or childcare if they:
• only have nasal symptoms, such as a runny nose or a sneeze
• do not have a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more (as long as their temperature
has not been lowered by taking any form of paracetamol or ibuprofen)
• do not have a cough
• have not been in close contact with anyone who has coronavirus
• do not live with anyone who is unwell and may have coronavirus
• have been told by a GP that their illness is caused by something else, that is not coronavirus.
Your GP will tell you when they can return to school or childcare
• have got a negative (‘not detected’) coronavirus test result and have not had symptoms for 48 hours
Most of the time, you do not need to phone your GP if a runny nose or sneezing are your
child’s only symptoms. Talk to your pharmacist instead.
Advice for parents
Symptoms to look out for and when to contact your GP
Schools are back and the winter season is ahead of us. Every year, schoolchildren
get colds, flu and other infections. This time, coronavirus (COVID-19) is with us.
Here is a guide on what symptoms to look out for and what to do if your
child is unwell.
Ireland’s public health advice is guided by WHO and ECDC advice
Wash their hands
Use tissues or
elbows to cover
their coughs and
are sneezing or
Go to hse.ie/coronavirus for more information. This includes advice on the following:
• protecting your child from coronavirus
• if your child has symptoms of coronavirus
• getting urgent medical advice if your child is very unwell
• children with underlying health conditions
• explaining coronavirus to your child
• how your child should wash their hands
• caring for a child isolating and self-isolation
• treating coronavirus symptoms at home
• bringing your child to a test centre and test results
For updates visit
Published: August 2020
Preventing the spread of illness
Help children to understand and to follow this advice:
Don’t share food
at lunch or other
This year, all children aged 2 to 12 years will be offered the
children’s nasal flu vaccine free of charge. See hse.ie/flu