Is Your Preschool Prepared for Swine Flu?

By Kelly Mayberry

Childcare location across the country are looking for ways to manage the H1N1 virus before they reach pandemic proportions. The Center for Disease Control is working closely with the National Association of Education of Young People to protect children at many child care and day care facilities throughout the United States.

The most efficient way to reduce the spread of this virus into an outbreak is it to sanitize all common areas. At Brilliance Preschool & Academy, every day toys are cleaned and sanitized at the ends of each and every school day. This should be the common practice of all childcare facilities to provide a germ-free environment. The priority for the administrators is to provide a healthy and safe environment for a child.

There are guides published by the CDC that shows schools how to protect their students. An out break is at its highest for children under five. Since this age group is at the highest risk level for the H1N1, it is essential that their teachers take additional precautions. Check with your pediatrician to see if you child needs to be vaccinated. Also, ask your child's school if there are plans to have all staff members receive the their shots.

The CDC also recommends that all preschools have an emergency plan in place in case there is an outbreak of swine flu in the building. The plan should include provisions to immediately notify all parents and that communication should advise parents that it is essential to keep students home if they begin to display flu like symptoms. The CDC reports that the "symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting."

When you visit your preschool you should see posters around the building encouraging the children to practice good hygiene. Materials are available from the government and the NAEYP free of charge, which reinforce the importance of hand washing and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing. Despite the best efforts of any school it still may become necessary at some point to close to control any outbreak. The CDC says if too many children or staff members become ill the best course of action will be to shutdown for 5 to 7 days. - 30558

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