Along with the hand sanitization and overall program cleanliness that we talked about last week, one huge key to protecting yourself and those around you from the cold and flu is to understand what you’re up against and avoid exposure. While we can provide generalizations about telling whether someone has a cold or the flu, the Centers for Disease Control warns that it can be very difficult to tell the difference. Frequently, although the symptoms may be the same, flu symptoms are more severe than cold symptoms (and both are pretty different from allergy symptoms). That said, here are some general indicators:
Regardless of whether it’s a cold or the flu, we don’t want it and the best way to keep from getting it is avoiding exposure to the illness. In a child care program, we do that by excluding individuals who are ill. We have a comprehensive Illness Exclusion Policy as well as a form that we send home with each ill student indicating why they are being sent home and what needs to happen before they can return (for example—fever must be gone for 24 hours). Looking at the above indicators for illness, some of the primary exclusion factors include fever, sluggishness and inability to participate in daily activities.
Knowing the symptoms of illness and excluding children and staff who demonstrate those signs will go far in keeping us all healthy.