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INFLUENZA - What You Should Know About The Flu In A Daycare Setting

Everything you
                    should know about the flu in a daycare setting

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a potentially serious viral disease that can make people of any age ill. Influenza can cause fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches. The influenza virus is usually passed when an infected person coughs or sneezes and another person inhales droplets containing the virus. Although most people are ill for only a few days, some have much more serious illness and need to be hospitalized. Thousands of people die each year from influenza-related complications. Most influenza-related deaths are in the elderly.

The Flu And Daycare - A Guide for Daycare Providers

Vaccinations Are NOT Just For Adults: 

Anyone who wants to reduce their chance of catching influenza may receive the vaccination. Since the influenza virus changes frequently, yearly vaccination in October to early November is recommended for protection from influenza. Influenza vaccination is recommended for all adults in the child care setting, especially those who are in any of the following high risk categories: 

  • 65 years of age and over.
  • Have chronic lung or heart disease.
  • Require regular medical care for chronic metabolic (including diabetes mellitus), kidney, blood, or suppressed immune system diseases.
  • Live or work with people who are in any of the above categories (or with children on long-term aspirin therapy.)
Any child 6 months and older can be vaccinated against influenza. Children in the following groups are at high risk of serious disease with influenza and should be vaccinated: 
  • Have chronic lung (including asthma) or heart disease.
  • Require regular medical care for chronic metabolic (including diabetes mellitus), kidney, blood, or suppressed immune system diseases.
  • Are on long-term aspirin therapy.
Children who are in frequent contact, at home or in the child care setting, with people who are in any of the above high-risk categories should also be vaccinated against influenza.

When To Send Home A Child Or Staff Member And Emergency Warning Signs:

If a child or staff person develops a fever (100 degrees F or higher under the arm, 101 degrees orally, or 102 degrees rectally) AND chills, cough, sore throat, headache, or muscle aches, he or she should be sent home. 

Emergency Warning Signs For Children Include:
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash
In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

Emergency Warning Signs For Adults Include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Flu Facts

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Flu Complications

Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.

Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are examples of complications from flu. The flu can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.

Article Source - U.S. Departments Of  HHS and CDC
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