Preventing the Flu & Other Sickness as a Childcare Professional
I don’t have to tell you the flu is a major concern this time of year. If you’ve watched any tv, or known enough people, you’d also know it is particularly bad this year. Let this article serve as a quick reminder of how to prevent it the best you can for your kids. We’ve done our best to include statistics to keep you motivated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention twenty children have died from the flu this season nationwide.
As you can see below, unless you’re currently in Guam, you’re still at risk for the flu.
1. The single most important thing you can do is hand washing.
How important is it? A study of 305 Detroit students who washed their hands 4 times per day showed 24 percent had fewer colds and 51 percent had less stomach upset. When daycare teachers helped kids wash their hands every morning when they arrived, there were 50 percent fewer illnesses. Surveys say that greater than 50% of both males and females don’t wash their hands after using the restroom. It’s recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Ok you’ve already lessened illnesses by 50% great job! Let’s keep going.
2. Clean toys, public areas, multiple times per day
Can you clean every inch of your daycare? No its probably not an efficient use of time. Clean the most likely area’s where germs can be transferred. Shared toys, railings, doorknobs, table tops, & bathrooms are prime to hold germs.
3. Enforce policy!
If a child is sick they must go home with their parents. It’s important to isolate sick children from the rest to prevent spreading of germs. Consider the 24 hour rule where even if the child is feeling better they are required to stay home for 24 hours from when they were sent home. This can be difficult for working parents but is important.
4. Educate the parents & children
Only so much can be done on the premises. Children can still get sick at home and bring it with them to your facility. Do your best to educate the parents on what they can do to prevent the flu. The includes at least considering a flu shot.