It’s cold and flu season and as one parent walks into the classroom she looks over at a little boy who obviously has something brewing. A teacher is helping him to wipe his nose; the mucus that is bubbling out is thick and dark in color. The child has red rimmed watery eyes and he looks miserable. The parent says in frustration, “I can’t believe this! I kept my child home because he had a slight cough and I didn’t want him to infect anyone else’s child. Why is that child here?”
She points to the child that the teacher was helping. This parent’s exasperated comment, alerted another parent and she chimed right in to the conversation. “I know”, said the second parent. “We had plans to go away last weekend, since I saw that some illness was going around in the classroom, I decided to keep my daughter home a few days prior, just to ensure that she would be healthy when we went away.”
We know that every parent doesn’t have the luxury to keep their child home, when there is a child in the classroom with a cold. But, during cold and flu season, parents need to be diligent. Parents must monitor their own child’s health, as well as doing everything they can to prevent their own child from getting sick.
While there is no sure fire way to prevent illness, there are some simple steps that can be followed in a child care setting to try and cut down on the number of germs and viruses:
- As Ignaz Semmelweis discovered back in the 1840s, “HANDWASHING” is extremely important in the fight to control germs! It’s best to have the children and adults wash hands when they first arrive at daycare. Throughout the day they should wash before and after eating, after using the bathroom, and after wiping their noses. The children usually stand and scrub their hands while singing the happy birthday song which ensures enough time to combat germs. Teachers should also follow suit with washing hands in addition to wearing gloves during changing and helping children with bathroom time.
- Another simple task is to be sure that your child’s nap bedding is taken home and washed on a weekly basis.
- Ask your center if the room is sanitized every day. This means surfaces are cleaned with soap and water and a disinfectant and toys are cleaned on a regular basis.
- And finally, and this is extremely important, please keep the staff informed of your child’s health. Don’t hide any issues! If they were not feeling well the night before, fess up please!
- Be sure to be familiar with and follow the sick policy that is given to you before you enroll. It is typical for a child to be sent home with a fever of 101, 2 diarrheas, unexplained rash, or vomiting. They should not return to school until they are 24 hours symptom free without the use of medication.
Now we know that having a sick child is frustrating and it is difficult to miss work. But please understand that it is necessary to keep your child out in order for him/her to recover properly and help prevent further contamination to both peers and teachers. And by the way, teachers who are ill need to stay out too! Germs are germs right?
If we all cooperate, we TRULY can help cut down on the instance of illness. Stay Healthy Everyone!!!!