Along with colder weather and dreary days, fall brings the cold and flu. The common cold spreads easily through the air, by coughing and sneezing or through physical contact with saliva, very typical in infant and toddler groups. The symptoms of a cold brings about sneezing, nasal congestion and discharge, a sore throat, cough, and in some cases can include a headache, fever, and chills. Although there is no vaccine to prevent a cold, proper hand-washing can remove the viruses that cause the common cold. Prevention is the key. At Islington Village, children, beginning in infancy practice a strict hand washing routine. Before and after eating, after outdoor play times and all other times, as recommended by Public Health authorities.
• Sneeze, cough or blow your nose
• Use the washroom or change diapers
• Handle garbage
• Play outdoors
Before and after:
• Prepare or eat food
• Touch a cut or open sore
The following statements will help you recognize and understand the common cold while helping you protect yourself and children:
- Respiratory infections are common in early childhood; especially when child first join group care.
- A healthy child will have six to eight colds a year.
- Many types of viruses can cause colds; a vaccine is not available.
- Colds are self-limiting; medication does little to cure symptoms.
- Nasal discharge is the most common sign of a cold in children.
- No one, regardless of age, is immune from the cold.
- It is easy for children to become dehydrated when ill due to fever, sweating, and runny nose; replenish fluids by encouraging the children to drink water.
- Some children will develop a mild ear infection during their cold, which can lead to the prescribing of antibiotics.
The health and well-being of young children can be enhanced by providing a safe classroom environment that includes, but is not limited to, teachers who follow universal infection control precautions. However, implementing such infection control precautions at home is of utmost importance as well. Following universal infection control precautions can greatly reduce the chances of children, families and teachers contracting communicable diseases. But also, keeping your child home when cold and flu symptoms appear is key in maintaining a safe and healthy classroom environment in which classroom caregivers can work to meet higher social-emotional needs such as building trust and developing positive self-esteem.