|: Daycare Infections Common And Preventable
DEAR DR.PAUL: My son 6 month old son
and attending daycare. It is well known that children who attend
daycare are subjected to colds and other illness. Can you tell
me how I can ensure that my son maintains good health. His vaccinations
are up-to date, he receives a multi-vitamin and I continue to
breast-feed. Also is there something the daycare should be doing
to ensure that they don't sick as often?
DR.PAUL ANSWERS: You are right; children
tend to get a lot of infections (up to 12-14/year) when first
attending day care because they are constantly exposed to germs
from one another. As they get older, this number decreases. Your
question on what we can do to prevent infections is a common yet
extremely relevant one.
First of all, immunization is very important. Proper nutrition
is of course another vital element. Whether or not vitamins help
prevent infections in a child who eats a well balanced diet is
an area that is not clear. However, you mention he is breastfed.
This is by far, the very best nutrition both from the dietary
and from the infection prevention point of views. Your antibodies
passed to baby in the breast milk will help protect against infections
including the common "day care associated infections" like gastroenteritis
and ear infections. I presume you are working, but I would encourage
you continue to express your milk for use in the daycare for your
baby for as long as possible.
What about the day care? THE BEST THING THAT THE DAY CARE CAN
DO IS PRACTICE INFECTION CONTROL TECHNIQUES ESPECIALLY WASHING
HANDS BEFORE AND AFTER ANY AND EVERY CHILD CONTACT. Here are some
general tips on infection prevention:
Children should be taught at an early age to wash their hands
after any contact with their mouth or nose, especially before
and after meals or snacks.
Children should be taught to cover their mouth and nose when coughing
Facial tissues should be used for runny noses and to catch sneezes.
These should be immediately put into the garbage after each use.
Avoid kissing your child on or around the mouth or face.
Anyone who comes in close contact with someone with the flu should
wash their hands before and after contact.
Dishes and utensils should be washed in hot, soapy water or in
Children should not share pacifiers, cups, utensils, washcloths,
towels or toothbrushes.
Disposable paper cups should be used in the bathroom and kitchen.
Disinfecting is important as certain germs can live for more than
30 minutes on doorknobs, toilet handles, and countertops, even
on toys. Use a disinfectant or soap and hot water to keep these
Children should learn at an early age to get used to the good
habit of always washing their hands after going to the bathroom.
Parents and other caregivers should always wash their hands after
changing a baby's diaper.
The information provided in this site is
designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to
replace the advice and care of your child's physician, nor is
it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If
you suspect that your child has a medical condition, always
consult a physician.
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