Most people are aware that daycares are a breeding ground for infections particularly colds, flus and intestinal illnesses. If you are a daycare worker or a parent of a daycare child it is important to you, that infections be controlled as much as possible. It is inevitable that children will pass around colds and flu in the daycare environment just due to the close contact.
This close contact besides spreading germs can also help to build up your child’s immunity for those days when he/she is in school. It is better to have them miss a few days now in preschool then to miss out on the daycare experience and have to build up their immunity during school days. Children need not be sick all the time in daycare though; there are simple things that can be done to control the spread of infections.
Immune Boosting Foods
Certain foods can actually boost a child’s ability to fight off infection. Foods that contain phytonutrients for example are excellent little natural germ-fighters. Fruits and vegetables in particular the colorful ones like bell peppers, blueberries, broccoli, pink grapefruit, mangos, tomatoes and papaya are phytonutrient rich.
Other foods are also good at fighting infections such as salmon, flaxseed meal, and spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger are also helpful. Excessive sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup) can reduce a child’s immunity, so ask the daycare not to serve these.
Another way to control infections at daycare is to keep those little noses clean. The nose is how germs enter and affect the respiratory tract and ears. You can accomplish this seemingly impossible task using two techniques:
Squirt saltwater drops into the youngsters nose and suck it out with a nasal aspirator.
Use a steamy shower and encourage the young child to breathe deeply.
These two methods should easily clean out the stuffiest of noses.
The daycare should have posted hygiene policy for handwashing and disposal of diapers. There should also be a policy in place regarding contagious children. Licensed daycare centers are required to have infection-control policies. Each room in the daycare should be properly ventilated with fresh air. Children should be permitted to play outside (weather permitting) as much as possible.
Also, the larger the space-to-child ratio, the less the chance for infections to spread, ask for the space-to-child ratio.
Each child should have proof that they are up-to-date on immunizations and medical checkups. Children who are up-to-date on immunizations and have had regular medical checkup are usually healthier than those who are not.
There should be strict guidelines for safe food preparations including disinfecting of tables before each meal or snack. Children should always have their hands washed before eating and after going to the bathroom.
It may not be possible to stop the spread of colds and other infectious diseases completely at daycares, but it is possible to control infections and keep them to a minimum by keeping toys and surfaces disinfected, by utilizing proper handwashing techniques, and by using infection-control policy.