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Communicable Diseases in Early Childhood Education

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Sarah Smith

on 20 November 2013

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Transcript of Communicable Diseases in Early Childhood Education

Communicable Diseases in Early Childhood Education

Communicable Illness
an illness that can be spread from one person or animal to another
requires a pathogen (disease-causing agent), a susceptible host (person who can become infected), and a method of transmission (depending on disease).
Stages of Illness
1) Incubation- time between exposure to a pathogen and the first signs or symptoms. During this period the infectious organisms are multiplying and trying to overcome the body's defense systems. Hours or days. Chicken pox is 2-3 weeks, the cold can be 12 hours! Children can be contagious.

2) Prodromal phase- Early symptoms not specific to illness such as fatigue, fever, sore throat, irritability...vague. Can last a few hours or a few days.

3) Acute phase- sick and highly contagious. Person experiences symptoms characteristic to the illness.

4) Recovery phase- follows automatically and includes the time period where people feel better and no longer are considered contagious.
Control Measures
Teachers should do daily health checks to identify children in early stages of a communicable disease.
change in behavior
unusual facial expressions
skin color
comments about poor feelings
rashes, spots, lesions, or other noticeable signs
Universal Precautions
Who becomes infected?
Not every child exposed will be infected
Children who are well-rested, nourished, immunized, and healthy are less susceptible.
Some children have immunity from being exposed to the same illness previously
Methods of transmission
1. airborne transmission- disease-causing pathogens are carried on tiny droplets of moisture expelled during coughs, sneezes, or while talking. Diseases include- the flu, colds, meningitis, tuberculosis, chicken pox
2. fecal-oral transmission- occurs more frequently when infants and toddlers are in diapers and there is a failure to properly wash hands, especially when there is food handling involved. Diseases include- pinworm, salmonella, hepatitis A
3. direct contact with bodily fluids or an infected area so that the infected organisms transfer to a new host. Diseases include, ringworm, athlete's foot, Hepatitis B, pink eye.
4. indirect contact- transfer of to an intermediate object such as a cup, toys, animals, towels, tec.
Exclusion policies should establish clear guidelines when sick children should be kept home, when they should be sent home, and when they are well enough to return.
There is controversy in how restrictive these policies should be- some experts believe mild illnesses should be able to stay, some say no, because many of these early signs of communicable illness are not easy to tell apart from more serious illnesses, and also illnesses spread quickly.
There needs to be policies to notify families when children are exposed to communicable illness
Staff exclusion policies generally should follow the same guidelines.
US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration passed regulations requiring child care porgms to develop and practice universal infection control precautions for handling contaminated body fluids. Schools must also have a written plan for handling infectious material, annual training, and records for exposures.
Gloves (including non-latex if a teacher has a sensitivity) must be accessible to teachers.
Gloves should be worn when you are likely to have contact with blood or fluids
Gloves should be worn when handling soiled objects or caring for injuries.
Gloves should be removed by pulling them off inside out and carefully discarded. Thorough hand-washing should follow.
When handling bodily fluids
1) wear gloves
2) remove gloves by pulling them inside out
3) wash hands thoroughly with a 30 second lather
4) Dispose contaminated materials properly
5) Clean all surfaces with a suitable disinfectant
6) Subsidize the cost of hepatitis B immunizations for all employees
How to wash hands
1) Pull down paper towel
2) turn on water, wet hands and wrists
3) Rub hands vigorously for at leat 30 seconds
4) Pay attention to the backs and in between fingers, and under nails. Keep hands lower than wrists to avoid recontamination
5) Dry hands with a paper towel
6) Use the paper towel to turn off faucets
7) Open door with paper towel and discard it.
Handwashing should always occur
1) Upon arrival/ return to the classroom
2) Before handling food/ utensils
3) Before and after feeding children
4) Before and after administering medication
5) After bathroom/ diaper related activities
6) After handling anything contaminated with mucus, urine, feces, vomitus, or blood
7) After cleaning up from snack or play, emptying garbage, or handling art materials
Frequent cleaning of furniture, toys, and surfaces limits the spread of communicable diseases
To disinfect, bleach solutions should be in contact with surfaces for 2 minutes.
1/4 cup of bleach to a gallon of water is inexpensive and effective. Should be prepared daily to maintain disinfecting strength with proper labels and precautions taken to keep away from children.
Changing tables, mats, and potty chairs should be disinfected after every use.
1 tablespoon of bleach to a cup of water (stronger solution) should be used to disinfect bodily fluids contamination
Toys that have been mouthed on should be removed. They should be washed with soap and water, rinsed in a bleach solution, and allowed to air-dry. Some can go through the dishwasher.
Washable toys should be laundered between use.
Tables, rails, etc. should be scrubbed daily with soap and water and disinfected.
Sanitary Diapering Procedure
Organize and label all supplies
All items should be within arms reach
Place a disposable covering over a firm changing surface. Children should not be changed on fabric surfaces. Discard after use.
Use gloves as desired (but remember hand washing needs to occur regardless!)
Avoid contact to your clothing while changing.
Soiled diaper and wipes should be placed in a covered, plastic lined receptacle, designated for dirty diapers (not accessible to children)
Wash your hands and the child's hands and redress the child.
Disinfect changing surfaces.
Wash hands again.
Teachers should include lessons to teach children how to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
Topics include: hand washing, procedure for covering mouth, blowing noses, and throwing away tissues, how to drink out of fountains, not sharing cups, germs and how they spread, dressing appropriately for the weather, nutritious food, and the importance of rest and physical activity.
Create a week-long unit covering the prevention of communicable diseases in the preschool classroom with activities. For each activity include
1) Objective (The student will...),
2) Procedure (Steps of the activity), and the
3) Assessment (Reflection of the objective- how you know the student learned)
In addition to universal precautions, teachers can help prevent the spread of communicable diseases by being vigilant.
Case Study
Complete the Case Study and Questions on page 133 with a partner.
For what reasons do you think younger children tend to get sick more frequently than older children?
Why is it especially important to remove children in the acute phase from the classroom?
Common Acute Childhood Illnesses
spread rapidly
short incubation period
highly contagious for the first couple days
recommend exclusion
doctor should be seen after 4-5 days if no improvement
Diaper Rash
caused by prolong contact of feces or urine
can become infected
should be changed promptly
if not improvement in 2 days, should go to the doctor
petroleum jelly can be used to protect skin
can be infectious or noninfectious
Children who have had this in the last 24 hours should be excluded
Prompt medical advice should be taken if it is severe, prolonged, or the child is lethargic
It's important to take notes/ record and wash hands.
can be a sign of ear infections, fever, headaches, head injuries, anemia, sinus problems, etc.
have child rest and inform family
if it is severe or frequent, child needs to be checked by a doctor
1/2 of all infants have an ear infection by their first bday, but ear infections decrease with age
can be caused by- colds, allergies, teething, wax, foreign objects, bacterial infections, infants eating laying down
ear infection symptoms include- fever, redness, refusal to eat, rubbing ears, dizziness, irritability, crying, difficulty sleeping, etc.
exclusion not necessary unless they are too ill.
over 100.4 degrees
exclusion depends on program's policy, but either way they should be separated and rest
in the absence of other symptoms, rest should be encouraged
documented- repeated complaints may indicate a problem
causes- allergies, head injuries, infections, virus, stress, hunger, eye strain, congestion, constipation, etc...
Sore throat
caused by bacterial/ viral infection as well as allergies
often manifests as fussiness, refusal to eat, difficulty sllowing, enlarged glands, etc.
could be strep
Can be as simple as being hungry, but it could also be a sign that the child is sick
Stomach pain should be considered serious if it disrupts a child's activity, causes tenderness, diarrhea, vomiting, or cramping is involved, there are bloody stools
Families should be notified at once!
Sometimes families knowingly or unknowingly bring sick children to school or child care. Examine your feelings about being exposed to communicable illnesses.

1) Do you feel differently depending on the illness?
2) What steps can teachers take to prevent themselves from getting sick?
3) How would you respond to families ignoring your exclusion policy?
4) What can you do to educate families about your policies?
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