Cold and flu season is upon us! This can be particularly challenging if it’s your first cold and flu season with a little one. Stuffy noses, trouble breathing/eating, fevers, sleep interruption – really suffering of any kind is so hard to watch your child go through! Unfortunately for us all, this is part and parcel of being a parent. Kids get sick – especially when they spend time around other children! Kindergarten looked like this for my son – whooping cough (which he had been vaccinated against!), chicken pox (which he caught “wild” and I was glad he got out of the way), and what was originally thought to be mumps (but what later turned out to be *just* a salivary gland infection that was secondary to a strep infection)! And that’s not even counting the colds.
No one knows exactly why we tend to get sick more often in the winter, but conventional wisdom tell us that a large part of it is because we tend to spend so much more time indoors and in close contact with others. Here’s a good article on the subject of winter illness (with lots of other resource links): http://coldflu.about.com/od/cold/f/coldandweather.htm.
Here are some of the precautions Happy Bambino takes year-round to prevent spread of illness:
- Sanitizing shared group toys with high heat or bleach solution regularly.
- We have hand sanitizer available in both classrooms and at the front desk. (Although regular use of hand sanitizer is questionable in it’s efficacy, we like to have it available for folks for occasional use if they feel they need it.)
- Other steps, as needed, dependent on feedback we get from families.
- In the winter, we have “wet bins” available for toys that have been played with/mouthed.
- We are starting a new policy where we are going to ask parents to only change diapers in the bathrooms. (Disinfecting wipes are available in the bathroom cabinets to wipe down the changing tables between uses.)
- We will be posting signs asking parents to stay home if there is illness in the family.
For Happy Bambino Group attendees…
It has recently come to our attention that there are several cases of hand foot & mouth disease among of our group attendees. If you’re not familiar with it, hand, foot, and mouth disease (hfmd) is a contagious viral illness that tends to affect infants and young children. There is no vaccine to prevent the disease and no treatment for the disease – other than pain relievers. It usually lasts about a week to 10 days and common symptoms include fever, rash, sore throat and sores in the mouth.
Here is some information on preventing hfmd: Everyone in the household of a person with hfmd should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water after using the toilet, changing diapers, or having any contact with nose and throat discharge, stool, or blister fluid. Toys and surfaces should first be washed with soap and water, and then cleaned with a dilute solution of bleach (add ¼ cup bleach to one gallon of water). Children with hfmd should be kept home from daycare or school (or group settings) until their fever goes away and their mouth sores have healed. Adults with illness should stay home from work until symptoms resolve.
More information available here: http://www.cdc.gov/features/handfootmouthdisease/
This particular bout of hand foot & mouth disease was brought into Happy Bambino groups by someone with a sick kid. So please, please, please – if you or your kiddo are sick – stay home!
On a related note, if you find out after a group that you or your child had a contagious illness at the time you attended; please let us know (email email@example.com) so we can alert other participants.
We will be steaming the carpet, disinfecting hard surfaces, and cleaning soft surfaces in both classrooms and the store play area because hfmd virus can live on surfaces for a while.
Please let us know if you have any questions.