Prevention of Influenza in Childcare Centers
Over the last month there has been a steady increase in cases of influenza on the island of Guam and many of these cases have been seen in children under the age of 5 years. One of the primary places that influenza spreads in the community is in the childcare setting. Young children have a less developed immune system and are more susceptible to contraction of communicable diseases. For this reason it is very important that parents, teachers, childcare providers and health professionals all cooperate to keep children and employees with influenza symptoms at home until they are no longer able to pass the virus to other individuals around them. Influenza symptoms include: cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fever, chills, and body aches. Individuals with these symptoms should not return to their childcare centers until their illness is over and symptoms have subsided (about a week after onset of symptoms).
DPHSS also encourages all residents to protect themselves and their loved ones during the influenza (flu) season by following these Flu Prevention Tips:
1. Get vaccinated.
• A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
• Vaccination is especially important for protecting those at high risk for serious flu complications, including: young children, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older, and anyone with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
2. Stop the spread.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Wash your hands often.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
3. Take medicine.
• Use medication as recommended by your doctor to treat the flu.
All childcare providers are urged to review and update the immunization status of all students. If vaccination is contraindicated because of illness, a follow-up appointment should be scheduled to update vaccination as soon as the illness is over.
For more information, please call your primary health care provider or the Department of Public Health and Social Services’ Immunization Program at 735-7143.