The Checkup
Health in the News and in Your Life

By Adapted from
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Going to School Sick

A recent story about Stefanie Zaner, an 18-year-old Montgomery County high school senior who's closing in on a perfect attendance record for her entire academic career, raised some compelling issues. But another student cited in the story reported going to school even though he was so sick he was "puking buckets." I wonder how his classmates -- and their parents -- felt about that.

As we continue to contend with an unpredictable new strain of influenza, public-health officials caution people who feel ill to stay home so as to avoid spreading the flu virus to others. Is that advice to be ignored in cases such as Zaner's?

-- Jennifer LaRue Huget

The readers voted:

When asked, "Would you send your kid to school sick to preserve a perfect attendance record?" 82 percent of the nearly 300 voters chose "No"; 15 percent picked "Maybe"; and the rest said, "It's not my call: I can't keep my kid home if she wants to go."

kacd wrote:

As an elementary school teacher, I loathe when kids are sent to school sick. The students are unable to concentrate on learning, and you can practically see the germs spreading. I sometimes wish there was less of an emphasis on attendance.

annwhite1 wrote:

From the opposite perspective as a teacher, I go in unless I am literally unable to get out of bed. It's way too much trouble to get things together for a substitute and then you've got to take care of all the other details (mop-up) after the sub is there.

mssnatchquatch wrote:

If the parent doesn't go to work, they don't get paid. What would you do? Yeah, you help prevent a cold from spreading, but who's going to help pay the rent from the paycheck that got docked?

Is That Right?

The company that makes Silk soymilk is in the process of launching a new product, Silk Heart Health. The carton notes that the beverage is "clinically shown to reduce cholesterol 7%."

The new drink contains soy protein and phytosterols, both of which the Food and Drug Administration recognizes as being generally healthful for your heart. The company cites a recent study showing that "people who enjoyed three servings of Silk Heart Health per day for four weeks, as part of a sensible diet, lowered their cholesterol by 7%."

-- Jennifer LaRue Huget

dcp1 wrote:

As you long as you don't remove "as part of a sensible diet," it sounds fine to me. I think everyone knows that if you drink soy milk with three pounds of fried pork chops, you're still going to get that heart attack. It's more a matter of common sense to me. I don't need the FDA to help me choose between an apple and a pack of Twinkies.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company