Danger of Infectious Disease

Danger of Infectious Disease for Adults Because early care and education program employees are around children who are at higher risk of infectious diseases and have limited understanding of hygiene practices, those employees are also at greater risk for getting sick.

While most illness that are spread in early care and education programs are not serious, some can be very dangerous. Knowledge about illness and how to prevent its spread helps. Being fully immunized (from childhood illness and or vaccines) protects adult health as well. Employees that are or could become pregnant want to be especially careful because first time exposure to chickenpox, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Fifths disease, and Rubella can cause major damage to fetal health, birth defects, and even fetal death.25

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Exclusion Policies Most children with mild illnesses can safely attend child care. “Many health policies concerning the care of ill children [including exclusion policies] have been based upon common misunderstandings about contagion, risks to ill children, and risks to other children and staff. Current research clearly shows that certain ill children do not pose a health threat. Also, the research shows that keeping certain other mildly ill children at home or isolated at the child care setting will not prevent other children from becoming ill.”26 But there are times when exclusion is the right answer. Each state has different child care regulations that determine when a child is too sick to attend. Below are some typical guidelines for exclusion. Ensure you are familiar with your state child care regulations.

 The child does not feel well enough to participate comfortably in the program’s activities.

 The staff cannot adequately care for the sick child without compromising the care of the other children.

 The child has any of the following symptoms unless a health provider determines that the child is well enough to attend and that the illness is not contagious:

o Fever (above 100° F. axillary or above 101° F. orally) accompanied by behavior change and other signs or symptoms of illness (i.e., the child looks and acts sick)

o Signs or symptoms of possibly severe illness (e.g., persistent crying, extreme irritability, uncontrolled coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, lethargy)

o Diarrhea: Changes from the child’s usual stool pattern–increased frequency of stools, looser/watery stools, stool runs out of the diaper, or child can’t get to the bathroom in time.