It is very important for childcare and preschool programs to help protect the health of their staff and the children and families that they serve. As flu season is rapidly approaching, there are several things that you can do, as a childcare provider, to help prevent the spread of the flu.
- Inform families that experts recommend yearly flu shots for all children 6 months to 5 years old and for anyone who cares for children in that age range. (www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r060223.htm)
- Encourage your staff to get flu shots each year ( www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm)
- Provide staff and families with a list of dates and locations within your local area where they can get the flu vaccine.
- Give your staff and children’s’ families reliable information on how to limit the spread of infection (For example, use good hand washing; cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing; clean toys frequently – remember Little Tikes toys can be cleaned with hot soapy water)
- Keep a good supply of things you will need to help control the spread of the infection (For example, keep on hand soap, paper towels and tissues).
- Require ill staff and children to stay at home until their flu symptoms are gone and they feel ready to come back. Keep accurate records of when children or staff are absent and what kind of illness caused the absence.
- Teach staff a standard set of steps for checking children and adults each day as they arrive to see if they are sick. Make it clear that any child or adult who is ill will not be admitted.
- Have a plan for keeping children who become sick in your care away from other children until the family arrives
- Assign one person to identify reliable sources of information and watch for public health warnings about the flu.
- Give children’s’ families reliable information on how to care for family members with the flu.(www.hhs.gov/pandemicflu/plan/sup5.html#box4)
Remember, being proactive instead of reactive can help prevent the flu!
Here’s looking forward to a safe and healthy winter!
This information was provided by the Department of Health and Human Services – USA