Friday, May 9, 2008

Does Your Child have a Spring Cold?

Here's some information on colds, whether it's Spring or any other time of the year. This info was given to me when I owned my school and it talks a bit about caregivers. But, you can apply it to any situation with children.

By Childcare Resource and Referral

Colds are NOT the result of going outside in bad weather and getting a chill. Colds are caused by viruses which are spread through the air when someone with a cold coughs or sneezes, or by direct contact when someone with a cold touches their respiratory secretions and spreads them to others by touching or sharing objects.

Most colds are contagious 2-4 days before signs and symptoms appear. Excluding a child from your child care who has a cold will not prevent colds from spreading. The consistent practice of good handwashing and environmental cleanliness are your best prevention measures.

Colds will not be cured by antibiotics.

Most cold viruses cause coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. Some cold viruses cause more serious symptoms than others; high fever, lack of energy, loss of appetite and the overall appearance of being very ill.

Colds sometimes lead to complications that need medical treatment and may require antibiotics. A few of these are: bronchitis symptoms: coughing, noisy breathing, fever), ear infections (symptoms: pain, fussiness, pulling at ear, and fever), or pneumonia (symptoms: coughing, difficult breathing, fever).

Having a cold should not prevent a child from playing outdoors. Include outdoor play and air out the rooms where children play and sleep with fresh air each day.

Young children have not developed immunity against most cold viruses. They may develop more immunity each time they have a cold, but there are more than 100 cold viruses!

To reduce the spread of colds, teach the children thorough handwashing techniques and make sure all the children and adult caregivers wash often. Have a good supply of Kleenex to keep little noses wiped and keep the environment clean and sanitized. Teaching children to cough or sneeze INTO THEIR ELBOW instead of into their hands will also help (sneezing into the hand provides an opportunity for that hand, and the germs, to touch something and spread the germs).

Try to prevent little ones from putting toys other children have been playing with into their mouths. Disinfect toys at least daily during the cold season and keep an extra supply of clean toys to trade for ones which have been used by a child with a cold.

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