snifflesTis the season for colds and flu. Lorain County childcare facilities take particular care to keep the spread of colds and flu to a minimum, but it can be an uphill battle. The very nature of cold and flu viruses combined with the close confines of daycare centers and the way children interact and play create a triple threat that aids the spread of cold and flu viruses. By knowing the facts about colds and flu, parents can augment the precautions taken at toddler care and preschool programs to help keep their families healthy this winter.

Kids Are Contagious Before Sniffles Start

By the time children start coughing and sneezing, it’s already too late to prevent contagion. People with viral infections are contagious a full day before they exhibit symptoms and for about five days after the symptoms first appear.

While viruses are primarily spread through the air, they can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces. Keeping your child home when he is actively coughing and sneezing can help minimize viral contagion, but it probably won’t eliminate it. Likewise, keeping surfaces and toys clean and sanitized at daycare and at home can help decrease but not eliminate the risk of spreading germs to other children or family members.

Get Vaccinated

There’s no vaccination for colds, but annual flu vaccinations can protect your family from the most prevalent flu strains. Beginning at age 2, children are regularly vaccinated against whooping cough, which is on the rise in Ohio and can be deadly. Parents and older family members who regularly care for or come into contact with infants should get a pertussis booster every 10 years.

Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of their arm can also help keep the spread of viral infections to a minimum.