As the CDC closely watches new outbreaks and cases of swine flu, we have to ask two questions: First, how are we keeping our kids and families safe from swine flu; and Second, what are our daycares doing to keep our kids safe? The CDC recommends several general tactics to combat swine flu:
- Avoid close contact with others
In a daycare setting, avoiding contact between healthy and flu-like symptoms is difficult. Parents should expect to see more and more quarantining of children who develop symptoms of flu while at daycare to avoid any potential spread of the flu.
- Stay home when sick
We know – nothing irks parents more when daycare facilities are preemptive about sending sick or potentially sick kids home. However, in order to avoid the spread of flu, your daycare will likely take extra precautions and turn away kids who may just have the ‘run of the mill’ sniffles. Don’t be upset – be thankful. The CDC reported this morning that the first US death of swine flu was a two year-old child. Better to be safe than sorry, especially in a daycare setting.
- Cover nose & mouth when sneezing or coughing
Great time for a refresher lesson on covering your mouth. And don’t be surprised to see face masks on daycare workers, hospital workers, and other staff who closely interact with children – primarily as a precaution.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
The spread of flu often comes from sneezing, coughing, and touching infected surfaces. Handwashing is key as is continual cleaning of surfaces with a strong disinfectant. Ask your daycare how often kids are made to wash their hands and how often surfaces are disinfected in light of this pandemic.
- Educate yourself
Stay up to date on the news from the CDC and WHO, as well as your local news. To date, Texas and California, along with Ohio, Kansas and New York are highly affected by swine flu. Know your symptoms as well: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue; some reports of diarrhea and vomiting; severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. In addition to these tips, parents should have several plans in place in case of daycare closures or quarantines due to swine flu. And above all else: stay calm, stay vigilant. Take your child to your doctor immediately when presented with any flu-like symptoms. Same advice goes for parents. Together we can fight the spread of swine flu.