Flu season is here in full force. Many have already experienced seasonal sickness associated with the colder weather. Some parents have asked, “How do I know if my child is too sick to go to church?” Great question.
The following guidelines come from an excellent resource, Your Child’s Health, by Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.:

Transmission
Diseases are mainly spread by touching something (e.g., a toy, doorknob, or child’s hand) that is contaminated with viruses or bacteria and getting them on your fingers. The second step in transmission is touching your nose or mouth, giving the germs a chance to move in and start a new infection. Here are some specifics:
Nose, mouth, and eye secretions are the most common sources of respiratory infections. These secretions are usually spread by contaminated hands or occasionally by kissing. Toddlers are especially prone to spreading these infections because of their habits of touching or mouthing everything.
Droplets in the air spread by coughing or sneezing is a less common means of transmission of respiratory infections. Droplets can travel up to 6 feet.
Fecal contamination of hands or other objects accounts for the spread of most diarrhea.
Contaminated utensils such as bottles and dishes can occasionally be a source of respiratory or intestinal infections.

Prevention
Encourage hand washing. This is the mainstay in preventing the spread of disease.
Discourage habits of touching the mouth and nose. This is extremely helpful in preventing the spread of respiratory infections. Clean contaminated areas with disinfectants. These products kill most bacteria. Disinfecting the diaper-changing area, cribs, strollers, play equipment, and food service items is effective in limiting intestinal diseases at home and in day-care centers.
Don’t share cups.
Don’t share towels.

When to Stay Home
If your child is displaying any of these symptoms, it would probably be wise to stay home:
Active fever (child should be fever-free for 12 hours)
Green or yellow mucous discharge from nose or eyes.
Vomiting and/or diarrhea
Obvious discomfort (body aches, sick eyes, etc.)
Uncontrolled cough.
When in doubt, call your childcare provider.

3 comments:

Joel-n-Barb said...

Mom says--24 hours fever free--just to be safe! :-)

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Pamela said...

good advice. It's so hard to stay home from church when the kiddos just have the sniffles but those germs spread fast!