With back to school season in full swing, cold and flu season isn’t far behind. This year, the biggest concern among health officials appears to be the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as swine flu. With children under the age of five in the high risk group for contracting and experiencing complications with the virus, it’s no wonder that day care centers and schools are reviewing their protocol, staying in touch with their local health departments and parents, and focusing on keeping their children healthy this year.
Stay in touch with your local health department.
Daycare centers should stay in touch with and follow directives from their local health department concerning swine flu and other seasonal illnesses. In addition, the CDC has a section of their website devoted to the H1N1 virus and to childcare facilities, which may also provide current, up-to-date information on procedures, protocols, and changes for daycare centers.
Remind parents to keep sick children at home until they are healthy and fever-free, and require teachers to do the same.
In order to prevent the spread of swine flu, be sure to stress to parents the importance of keeping sick children at home until they not only appear to be feeling better, but have also been fever-free for 24-48 hours. The same is important for teachers. Daycare centers should urge teachers to stay home if they, or if a family member is sick or suspected of having swine flu.
Keep parents abreast of confirmed cases of swine flu or changes to your regular operating procedures.
Should there be any confirmed cases of swine flu at your school, be sure to contact your local health department, if they aren’t already aware. Inform parents that there is a case of swine flu, and monitor other children and teachers for additional cases.
Practice healthy hygiene techniques to keep teachers and children healthy.
The best thing you can do to treat the swine flu pandemic in your daycare center is to prevent it before it starts. The H1N1 virus is spread from direct human-to-human contact like influenza, so remind teachers and staff of precautions like hand washing, teaching children to cough into a tissue or their elbows, and reminding people to keep hands away from their eyes, nose, and mouth. Providing parents and teachers with information about the swine flu vaccine, when it becomes available, is also a good idea.
Day care centers have their work cut out for them this cold and flu season. In order to keep your children and your teachers safe, be sure to stay in touch with the local health department, remind parents of school guidelines about sick children, report cases of swine flu, and enforce proper hygiene techniques.