JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) - As flu cases are on the rise in the metro, many parents are asking the question, how long do you keep a sick child home from school?

“I feel like every day I get email notices from the nurse saying flu, pneumonia, strep, a stomach bug it’s everything,” mother of three Molly Maxwell said.

Maxwell has three boys and she, like so many others, has been affected by the flu.

“You need to make sure you’re there for your customers, but you also are dealing with staff who oftentimes have their own children who are sick. We have staff not able to come in right now because they’re caring for their child who has the flu,” Maxwell said.

In Johnson County alone, cases have spiked. The numbers are similar in Jackson County. In fact, it hasn’t been this bad in years and the vast majority of cases are in people between the ages of five and 24.

Not surprising when you consider how easily the virus can spread in a school where kids are close all day and aren’t always great about sneezing into a sleeve or washing their hands.

And here’s something you may not have heard, but if you’re a parent, it’s critical that you do. If your child tests positive for the flu, you need to keep them home for five days after the onset of symptoms, even if they seem back to normal.

“Even though you or your loved one or your child may be feeling better and may be fever free, there’s still a period of after those symptoms subside that you’re able to shed the virus and potentially infectious,” University of Kansas Health System Dr. Dana Hawkinson said.

For parents, especially those who work outside the home, staying home or finding childcare for a little one for that long can be daunting, but experts agree they are necessary guidelines to keep everyone healthy.

“So it’s tricky, there’s a ripple effect to everything associated with a business, both as a parent and a business owner,” Hawkinson said.

Doctors said it’s not too late to get your flu shot and they want to encourage everyone who hasn’t had one to get one right away.

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