What does your day care know about swine flu (H1N1 flu) and what measures are they urged to follow? The Centers for Disease Control have recently issued updated guidelines to day cares on how to combat the spread of this virus.
Here’s what your day care should have been told:
1. Encourage all staff to get vaccinated.
2. Make sure children’s and staff’s hands are washed often with soap and water, and especially after children cough or sneeze. Keep alcohol-based hand cleaner nearby if a sink isn’t readily available.
3. Remind children and staff not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth as germs are often spread this way.
4. Clean the environment regularly. Dirty areas and items should be cleaned immediately, especially play areas and toys.
5. Day care staffers deemed to be high risk for flu complications and parents of children younger than age 5 who become ill with flu-like symptoms should call their doctor immediately to see if they are in need of antiviral treatment.
6. If a swine flu outbreak is severe, staff should consider closing the day care center to decrease the spread of infection. A decision to close should be made in conjunction with local public health officials.
7. Remind staff to stay home and parents to keep a sick child at home when they have flu-like symptoms. Send sick staff home immediately. If a child become ill at the day care, move them to a separate, but supervised, area until a parent can pick them up.
If an outbreak becomes more severe or symptoms more dangerous as the fall and winter season approach, the following guidelines should also be considered:
1. Let high-risk staffers stay at home.
2. Increase the distance between children; separate children into small groups of six or less.
3. Have children stay home if there are others in the child’s household who have the swine flu.
4. Inform parents of sick children and sick staff members that they should say home for at least 7 days.
5. Close the day care center either as a reaction to the outbreak or even as a preventative measure.
For more information about swine flu, go to http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.
Here’s to hoping we and our children stay healthy this flu season.
Last January, my toddler woke up in the middle of the night crying inconsolably. He started thrashing his body across the bed and became very hot to the touch. I immediately took his temperature and there it was – 105 degrees. He asked for water but couldn’t keep it down. He started shaking uncontrollably and I called 911. He was having a febrile seizure, which can happen in young children with high fevers. He was transported to the hospital and they got his fever down and got fluids in him. In my situation, I reacted on instinct. At the time, I worried that I was overreacting, but it turned out that going to the ER in this case was the best choice.
Sometimes we can panic when it comes to our kids and we don’t know how to handle fever or sickness. Sometimes we feel it may not warrant a visit to the ER but in some cases it does. The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center had an article in their most recent OK Kids newsletter to help guide parents on what to look for. They say children need to be seen by a doctor if:
-Is younger than 2 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 or higher.
-Is 6 months old or older and has a fever higher than 101.
-Is younger than 2 years old and has had a fever for more than 24 hours.
-Is 2 years old or older and has had a fever for more than 72 hours.
They also stress that the way a child is acting is far more important than what the thermometer says. If a child is lethargic, can’t stop crying, can’t hold down food or liquids, or shows signs of dehydration, contact a doctor. And if you’re ever in doubt about what to do or what a fever means, or if your child is acting in a way that concerns you, always call your doctor for advice.