As a parent, you know that sometimes your child is really sick and sometimes she’s just faking it out. Luckily, there are ways to tell when your kid really needs your help.

Most children don’t like going to school every day and sometimes they try to find the way to stay at home. Let’s go through the most common complaints and the most common signs of illnesses.

My Head Hurts

It can be hard for a child to describe how bad something hurts, but as a rule of thumb, if your child doesn’t want to play around and is sobbing, something is wrong. If ibuprofen and acetaminophen don’t help, she needs to see a doctor. Take her to the emergency department if your child has difficulty thinking, talking, walking or if she’s vomiting.

You should keep in mind that most headaches go away in an hour, which may result in a late arrival. If your child is watching TV and eating, tell her you’re making an appointment with a doctor. If your child is faking her illness, this can cause a magical recovery.

My Stomach Doesn’t Feel Well

Stomach issues are usually followed by vomiting and nausea so it can be hard to fake it. But if your child says he doesn’t feel well, look for secondary symptoms such as pale skin, slow heart rate, and increased saliva production. And if your child eats breakfast, she is probably fine.

You should never ignore repeated complaints about pain. If the pain persists, you need to talk to a doctor.

Child with stomach problems

I’m Burning Up!

Fever is the most common fake complaint and schools have temperatures that allow children to stay at home. So, take the temperature reading first. Make sure your child didn’t just eat something warm. Physical activity can raise the temperature as well. Confirm temperature with a thermometer and use 100°F as a cutoff.

I Can’t Stop Coughing

Coughing and other respiratory issues are the main cause of school absences. And cough can be so strong that medicine won’t be able to suppress it. Therefore, coughs can be different. With a real cough, you can hear the mucus leaving the airways. Besides, when you’re faking it, you have to remind yourself to keep coughing.

Of course, coughing kids usually go to school if there are no other symptoms.

Coughing child

It Hurts To Swallow

Over 80% of sore throats are caused by infections with very mild symptoms and kids shouldn’t skip school. If your child doesn’t have a fever, he might have a strep. The only way to diagnose it is with a throat swab. And you won’t see any red throats or icky white spots, so no need to ask to open wide his mouth.

What you can do is to visit a pediatrician’s office for a quick test on your way to school. Once you have an answer, you can make an informed decision.

I Feel Yucky

Sometimes children might not feel well and this can mean anything – a beginning of a disease, a sign of depression or just a reason to stay home. It’s hard to know when children are honest about this one.

What you can do is to insist a child should have one observable symptom. Do they have a fever? Or vomiting? Or something else? If no, they probably can go to school. If children just feel lazy, they can do just fine in a classroom.

However, if your child keeps complaining about this, medical evaluation might be necessary. Oftentimes, this can indicate a more serious illness.

What If A Child Constantly Fakes It?

Although most children understand that school is an inevitable part of life, if your child has a pattern of faking illnesses, it’s important to find out why. For example, bullied children can fake illnesses because they’re afraid to tell about the real reason. Some classes may be too stressful for a child so they want to skip them, etc.

Child Bullying

Finding the root of the problem can require help of a professional. Sometimes, the symptoms seem real to the child even when there are no underlying issues.