Why do kids get sick so often?
Children get sick because they are more prone to infectious illnesses especially when exposed to new viruses their system isn’t used to yet. You can find virus almost everywhere, in fact there are over 200 different cold viruses and they mutate all the time. So it is inevitable that your child gets a whooping cough, colds, a runny nose, pink eye and other infections despite your efforts in sanitising and cleaning your home, car or their stuff.
A young child getting exposed to viral infections and diseases will later on build up their immune system against them. A child gets more chances of exposure to infectious illness when they attend daycare or preschool and get day care sickness from other kids.
Sometimes, a child can also get it from their family. Colds are common in large families living in the same house. They can contract it from older siblings carrying home virus from their school. The virus can take rounds around the whole family.
The average baby, toddler, and preschooler get seven to eight infections a year. This number can increase for children who are in child care. Most kids have a pretty good immune system even if they have been sick for most of the year. Do take note that symptoms on kids typically last longer than a week, it can be up to 14 days or more. Cough alone can last up to over a month.
How do kids get sick from daycare?
Parents worry when their child is sick quite often after starting attending daycare. Daycare diseases are inevitable. Kids will pick up more infections at daycare due to higher risk and increased exposure to germs and virus. In fact, kids can contract six to 12 viruses in the first year alone.
Childcare centres and schools are the perfect environment for the fast spread of viruses. Common colds, stomach bugs, ear infections, and hand, foot and mouth disease easily spread when kids are coughing, sneezing, rubbing their noses, and sharing toys and food.
While having a sick child can be extremely frustrating and stressful, there’s no reason for parents to panic and worry about their kid’s immune health, as long as it’s just common viruses and upper respiratory tract infections and not more serious bacterial infections.
How your child can avoid getting sick from daycare
We’re always taught that good personal hygiene is one of the best ways to protect ourselves from getting infectious diseases such as COVID-19, colds and flu. Advocating for good hygiene is one of the easiest and most practical solution for infection control and preventing the spread of germs, bacteria and virus.
Teach kids the importance of washing their hands after playing outside or before eating. Washing with soap is best to ensure that they remove germs that can cause sickness to themselves and even other children around.
When choosing a childcare service, be observant, spend some time at the facility to observe the staff’s hand-washing habits. Ideally, teachers and staff wash or sanitise their hands between handling each child. Don’t hesitate to bring up health hazard concerns and red flags if you spot any.
Find out if the centre makes sure all toddlers attending their care are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Make sure to also ask if workers receive adequate immunisations and annual tuberculosis tests.
Healthy eating habits boost immune systems
One of your best bets to prevent sickness is establishing healthy eating and sleeping habits for your child. It’s imperative to maintain a regular schedule of sleep and rest, as well as a balanced diet full of iron, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
When a child is malnourished, their immune system is usually severely compromised. Having access to food and a varied diet makes this much less likely for kids. Taking vitamins at an early age is beneficial, best to check with your child’s doctor about appropriate dietary supplements.
Ensure childcare has good sick policies
A child care centre’s primary goal is to keep its children safe and healthy. Almost every daycare facility has an illness policy in place. Make sure that you understand the service’s illness policy and adhere to them.
The first line of defence in managing sickness involves working with parents and local public health units. During an outbreak or a severe illness, proper management will include establishing policies and procedures for reporting, excluding, and communicating illnesses.
Knowing the sick policies of your childcare centre can also help you plan in advance should you need to take time off work to attend to your child at home while they’re sick. This is especially valuable for working mums and parents who need to juggle work and parenting.
Preventions for common day care sickness
How to prevent the cold and the flu
One of the best ways to prevent kids from getting sick is to wash their hands. Teach them to observe proper hand washing several times a day especially when they touch toys, play outside, before they eat. Having hand sanitiser can be very handy too when kids are at the park and a sink may not available.
Cold and flu virus can spread easily through the eyes and mouth. Biting the nails is a big no-no, underneath can be cold and flu virus lurking around. Teach children to avoid touching their eyes and mouth but if they must, always make sure they wash their hands first.
It’s very important for your kid to get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation can comprise the immune system, making children more susceptible to illness.
Physical activity can help boost a child’s immunity, staying active, playing under the sun to get their daily dose of vitamin D can help them stay healthy in flu season.
A healthy, balanced diet supplying vital daily nutrients will keep your child’s immune system strong. Drinking plenty of fluids flushes toxins out of the system, train kids to develop a habit of drinking lots of water.
How to avoid COVID at daycare
Vaccination is the most effective public health strategy against COVID-19. Early care and education (ECE) programs are encouraged to promote vaccination among all eligible individuals to protect staff and kids in their care, as well as their families.
Vaccination is not yet available for most children in early childhood education programs. As a result, multiple prevention strategies for COVID-19 are in place for kids and adults in early childhood programs. Universal indoor masking in childcare programs is a must for those ages 2 years and older regardless of vaccination status.
Regulatory agencies, state and local public health departments, and childcare providers should collaborate to implement these prevention strategies. Preventive programs should take into account the educational needs, social well-being, and access to learning and care of children when choosing prevention strategies.
Research childcare policies
For your peace of mind, check with your chosen service their policies and procedures when it comes to health and safety in daycare settings. In the time of COVID, we all want to take proper safety steps to stop the spread.
You can ask about the centre’s cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Are they following local policies and regulations for keeping surfaces free of germs and bacteria?
Do they have daily health checks and screening? Confirm if they do temperature check to all staff and children coming in to make sure they don’t have a fever or other symptoms of the flu.
Testing and isolation policies are important too. In the event that someone gets sick or tests positive for COVID-19, how long should they isolate? Does the centre have an isolation room with proper supervision for sick children until they get home? What is the policy for kids and staff returning to the facility after they get better?
The vaccine protects us against a wide range of disease and infection. Make sure your child is up to date on immunisations by checking with your doctor. Everyone over six months old is strongly encouraged to receive the flu shot yearly, and it is especially important to protect your kids from colds. flu, and even COVID-19.
How daycare can also build immunity
Parents worry when their kids manifest symptoms or catch cough, colds, fever, and other infections. However, a reassuring study suggests that while kids placed in day care have the tendency to get sick more often, they stay healthier than other children later in elementary school.
They develop antibodies and build up their immunity against colds and other infections while they’re in the child care centre therefore they gain protection against infections during the elementary-school years.
Researchers also found that children who stayed home as a baby and toddler tend to get more ear infections between their kindergarten to first grade years but not respiratory illnesses. Children in group child care didn’t show any differences in infection rates compared with those who stayed home.
Babies who go to daycare may have a lower risk of having asthma when they get older. Kids who attend daycare also seem less likely to develop childhood leukaemia.
Finding a safe daycare
A child’s early life experiences and learning journey plays a crucial role in building them up as a person. They love to explore, go around, move and play. They put things in their mouth, touch dirt, drop or throw things, climb trees.
Physical activity is important to them as well as health and safety. When looking for a safe day care look carefully at how they set up the environment. It must have a organised and child-safe space where children can fully explore.
Take a close look at the indoors and outdoors of the day care. Does it look like a clean and healthy environment for toddlers to learn and thrive?
Childcare providers must ensure the prevention of communicable diseases spreading from one kid to another in close proximity. It’s one of their key responsibilities to provide babies and toddlers have a safe and healthy environment for play and learning.