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Sick Kids and Daycare

When to Send Them to Daycare and When to Keep Them Home
by Ann Douglas, author The Unofficial Guide to Childcare

Disease

Symptoms

Transmission

Infectious Period

Infected child can return to school or daycare

Siblings can return to school or daycare

Chickenpox

Fever and headache; rash within 24 hrs. Itching for four days. Blisters appear in crops over 3 to 4 days, turning to crusty scabs. Symptoms appear 11 to 21 days after exposure.

Spread through the air and by direct contact with blister fluid, saliva, phlegm, or articles freshly soiled by the sick child.

Up to five days before the onset of the rash, and not more than five days after the spots appear.

When all lesions are dry (at least five days after the first crop of lesions appeared.)

Should only be attending school or daycare if they have already had the chickenpox.

Common Cold

Runny nose, sore throat, cough, decreased appetite.

Spread through the air and via contaminated hands and objects.

From one day before to seven days after onset of symptoms.

Child can attend school or daycare unless too ill to take part in activities.

No need for siblings to stay home.

Conjunctivitis

(Pink Eye)

Red swollen eye(s); then thick, yellow discharge and crusting. Eyes itch and smart; no pain. Symptoms appear 24 to 72 hours after exposure.

Spread by touching the eye or through contact with articles soiled with discharge or phlegm.

Contagious until treated.

When whites of eyes are clear and crusting is gone.

No need for siblings to stay home unless they are also infected.

Ear Infections

Earache; irritability, fever, and cold symptoms.

Not infectious.

Not infectious.

No need for child to stay home unless he/she is not feeling well enough to go.

No need for siblings to stay home.

Fever

Temperature over 100 degrees F. A child with a temperature of 101 degrees F and higher will look and feel sick.

Not infectious.

Not infectious.

Keep child away from school or daycare until no fever and feeling well enough to return.

Gastroenteritis

(i.e. campylobacter, E.coli, Shigella, Yersinia, viral)

Poor appetite, vomiting, stomach cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear 24 to 72 hours after exposure.

Spread through contact with stool or through contaminated food, milk, or water. Also spread by people with poor hygiene habits.

Contagious while symptoms are present.

When diarrhea stops for at least 24 hours and stool tests are negative.

No need for siblings to stay home unless they are also infected.

Impetigo

Blisters, then honey-colored crusts on red base; often located around mouth, nose, and diaper area. Symptoms take four to ten days to appear.

Spread through contact with sores. Infection can be spread to other parts of the body by the child's fingers.

Contagious until sores are dry.

When sores are dry.

No need for siblings to stay home unless they are also infected.

Red Measles

Fever, cough, red eyes, runny noes, red spots in mouth, swollen neck glands. Blotchy red rash spreads from face to neck to body over three days. Symptoms appear seven to eighteen days after exposure, with rash appearing on or about the fourteenth day.

Spread through direct or airborne contact with saliva, phlegm, or articles soiled by the sick child.

Contagious from four days before to four days after rash appears.

Child can return to school or daycare anytime after the fourth day after the rash starts, if he/she feels well enough.

Siblings may continue to attend school or daycare as long as they are immunized or immune. If they have not been immunized, they may need a measles vaccine or immune globulin.

Pediculosis

(Head Lice)

Itchy scalp. Live lice are tiny wingless insects that crawl into the hair. Nits are tiny egg-shaped deposits which are firmly attached to the hair. Symptoms appear eight to ten days after exposure.

Spread by direct head-to-head contact or by sharing clothing, hats, combs, and brushes.

Contagious until treated and nits are gone.

After treatment.

Siblings may continue to go to school or daycare as long as they are not infected.

Pertussis (Whopping Cough)

Cold-like symptoms with irritating cough. Coughing is prolonged and severe, and it may be characterized by a high-pitched whoop or crowing. Symptoms appear seven to ten days after exposure.

Spread through direct or airborne contact with saliva, phlegm, or articles soiled by the sick child.

Contagious for up to three weeks after start of cough or up to five days after antibiotics are started.

After at least five days of antibiotic treatment, assuming child feels well.

Siblings may continue to attend school or daycare as long as they are immunized or immune. If they have not been immunized, they may need a booster shot and antibiotic.

Rubella

Mild fever, headache, cough, red eyes, runny nose. Swollen glands at back of neck. May not feel ill. Rash consists of mottled or raised spots spreading from face to neck to body over 12 to 24 hours. Symptoms appear 14 to 23 days after exposure.

Spread through direct contact with phlegm, saliva, or articles soiled by the sick child. People without symptoms can spread the infection.

Contagious from seven days before to four days after rash appears.

Child should stay home for seven days after rash appears and should avoid contact with non-immune pregnant women.

Siblings may continue to attend school or daycare as long as they are uninfected and have been immunized against the disease.

Scarlet Fever

Sore throat and fever; fine red rash which feels like sandpaper and fades on pressure. Most often appears on neck, chest, folds of armpits, elbow, groin, and inner parts of thighs. Symptoms appear one to three days after exposure.

Spread through direct contact with phlegm, saliva, or articles soiled by the sick child. Limited spread through the air. People without symptoms can spread the infection.

Contagious for 10 to 21 days after exposure, or 24 to 48 hours after antibiotics have been started.

Child can return to school 48 hours after the start of antibiotics if he/she is feeling well.

Siblings may continue to attend school as long as they are not infected..

Strep Throat

Fever; sore throat.

Spread person to person.

Contagious until 24 hours after the start of treatment.

Child can return to school 24 hours after the start of treatment.

Siblings may continue to attend school as long as they are not infected.

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