Seasonal and H1N1 Flu Update for Child Care Providers
DSS continues to support your efforts in keeping children in your care and their families safe and healthy. The following information addresses questions you may have regarding the seasonal and H1N1 flu virus and vaccination campaigns. Fact
: It is important that Day Care Staff and Administrators, as well as parents and children, understand the importance of flu prevention techniques. Why it matters
: Day care settings present unique challenges for influenza prevention due to the highly vulnerable population, close contact, shared toys and other objects, and limited ability of young children to understand or practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. The Department of Health and Hospitals recently updated their guidance for child care centers for the 2009/2010 Influenza season which can be found at http://www.fighttheflula.com/assets/pdfs/__Influenza2009_10DayCare.pdf
In addition, it is important to follow these basic hygiene practices:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- IIf you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
The 2009 H1N1 vaccine is currently available statewide for people at highest risk for complications from the virus, as well as other target populations. These target populations include:
Children and young adults from six months through 24 years of age
Why it matters:
- Caregivers of children under six months
- Frontline health care workers
- Pregnant women
- Non-elderly adults with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes
The 2009 H1N1 vaccine has proven to be very safe and very effective, and getting the vaccine when it is available to you is the best step you can take to help prevent the spread of H1N1.
To locate a facility providing the 2009 H1N1 vaccine near you, go to www.fighttheflula.com
Children, parents, and caregivers should also consider getting their seasonal influenza vaccination. The CDC recommends that all children aged six months thru 19 years get an annual vaccination. Check with your pediatrician, a local health unit, or community pharmacy to inquire about vaccination. Fact:
Child care centers, child residential facilities, and foster homes can report, via the DSS website, influenza type illnesses in your center. To report, go to www.dss.louisiana.gov/flureporting
. Why it matters:
DSS and DHH use this information to assist centers and keep track of outbreaks around the state. Reporting illnesses in your center allows for communication and direction of additional information and resources that might be helpful in preventing a further outbreak in your center. Fact
: DHH and DSS have partnered to provide training and information regarding the seasonal and H1N1 flu virus to child care providers and foster parents across the state on a regular basis. Why it matters
: Information for foster parents and child care providers will be accurate and up to date. In the coming months, look for emails containing important messages and resources for parents and child care centers. You can also check the DSS website regularly at www.dss.louisiana.gov/childcareupdates
, where you can register to receive updates automatically. You can also visit www.fighttheflula.com
for the latest from DHH regarding the latest information on fighting the flu. Fact
: During the 2009 Legislative session, Senate Bill 171 by Senator Broome was passed requiring that by November 1, licensed child care centers must post information for parents about the flu, how to prevent it and why parents should be sure their children receive the vaccine. Why it matters
: In late October, Class A and B centers and child residential facilities received information that must be posted in a prominent place where it can be seen by parents or caregivers. A letter from the Child Care Licensing and Regulatory Section about the appropriate use of hand sanitizing gel was included. Also in the mailing were the phone numbers to parish health units and posters (in English and Spanish) about hand hygiene and cough etiquette. These materials can be found on the DSS website at www.dss.louisiana.gov/childcareupdates