2016-2017 Influenza Season
It's vitally important that everyone in your Head Start, early education and child care program is well protected for this flu season. With family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is an ideal time to get the flu vaccine and encourage others to get it too.
Remember that most influenza illnesses generally occur in January, February, and March each year, so even getting vaccinated in December, if you have not already received the vaccine, is a smart thing to do.
Get the Flu Vaccine ASAP
Vaccination remains the most important step in being protected against influenza and its complications. Child care providers should get the flu vaccine and strongly encourage all others to do the same. This approach puts the health and safety of everyone in the child care setting first.
Antiviral Treatment is an Important Second Line of Defense
As an important second line of defense, influenza antiviral drugs (for example, Oseltamivir) can lessen symptoms and shorten the time people are sick with the flu. Antiviral treatment may also prevent serious flu complications. Oseltamivir is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the treatment of influenza in persons as young as newborns, and for the prevention of influenza in persons aged 3 months and older. When someone has flu symptoms (sudden onset of fever; chills; sore throat; decreased energy or feeling a lot more tired than usual; headache; muscle aches and pains; nasal congestion; nausea; abdominal pain), child care providers can recommend that a child's caregiver check with their pediatrician to see if antiviral treatment is recommended.
Should a Child Be Excluded from Child Care?
Any child with respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, or sore throat) and fever should be excluded from their child care program. The child can return after the fever has resolved (without the use of fever-reducing medicine), the child is able to participate in normal activities, and staff can care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the other children in the group.
Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide (4th Edition)
This AAP manual provides child care center directors, teachers, and caregivers with important information about the prevention and management of infectious diseases in group care settings. The manual contains helpful guides, including quick reference sheets on prevention of infectious diseases. Detailed chapters address infection control measures, immunizations, and inclusion/exclusion criteria.
Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org: