We have heard a lot about the swine flu and are familiar with the H1N1 symptoms. (Read more on our blog, “Are we H1N1’d to death?”) but how prepared are we? How prepared is your daycare? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a document for prevention in child care settings, specifically for administrators, care providers, and other staff.
The CDC says the first step in preventing the swine flu spread is to get your flu shots. There are two kinds of shots, the ‘flu shot’ and the nasal-spray flu vaccine, either of which will help. Some other general steps the CDC says daycares should follow are:
- Clean frequently touched surfaces, toys, and commonly shared items at least daily and when visibly soiled.
- Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- registered household disinfectant labeled for activity against bacteria and viruses, an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant, or EPA-registered chlorine bleach/hypochlorite solution. Always follow label instructions when using any EPA-registered disinfectant. If EPA-registered chlorine bleach is not available and a generic (i.e., store brand) chlorine bleach is used, mix ¼ cup chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of cool water.
- Keep disinfectants out of the reach of children.
- Advise children and care providers to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and to put their used tissue in a waste basket.
- Make sure that tissues are available in all nurseries, child care rooms, and common areas such as reading rooms, classrooms, and rooms where meals are provided.
- Encourage care providers and children to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub as soon as possible, if they have sneezed or coughed on their hands.
Parents can also help by keeping sick children at home and encouraging their daycare centers to keep in touch with local health officials on health issues. Daycares should also be looking for any symptoms like a child’s respiratory issues in their day care center and can look to the CDC for tips and instructions on how to control the virus spread.