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But when it comes to a serious, widespread outbreak of flu, child care centers may not be so prepared, scientists found recently.
In a study published last year, researchers surveyed more than 1,000 child care center directors about practices such as infection control, communication, immunization and health care training.
Unfortunately, the study found readiness was low: Only 7 percent of directors had taken actions to prepare their centers for a pandemic flu outbreak. The study looked at pandemic flu in particular because it has the potential to be very dangerous, especially for young children — the main users of child care centers.
Pandemic flu is different than seasonal flu for a few reasons: It’s easily spread, it’s a new type of flu most people don’t have immunity to and there won’t be a vaccine. And as the name implies, it’s happening around the world, meaning lots of cases.
Child care centers can be doing more to protect kids from the flu, the researchers said. Directors should be trained by licensed professionals, such as health consultants, to educate staff on health and safety issues. That will help to increase awareness and knowledge of the flu pandemic.
Parents should also be actively involved. Ask questions. Learn how your child care center is taking action in preventing the spread of the flu. That’s important whether there is a flu pandemic or if it’s just a regular flu season.
There are also lots of ways that you can protect your child from the flu beyond the child care center.
Remember, an annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent your child from flu.