Most states require schools and child care facilities to keep track of communicable diseases among their children. At first this may seem overwhelming, but with a few guidelines and a little research, it needn't be more than a standard part of running your child care facility.
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What is a Communicable Disease?
A communicable disease (or CD) is infectious and is transmissible through direct contact with an infected person, that person's bodily fluids, or through indirect contact (such as touching a surface the infected person has touched).
Who Needs to Report?
Most states have guidelines or laws requiring child care facilities to report certain communicable diseases. This is important because it may help prevent widespread outbreaks of serious diseases and can lead to better treatment of those with the disease. To learn the laws in your state, visit the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) website and look for its map of state health departments.
How to Report
Each state's health department has different guidelines. By visiting the CDC's website, you can easily find the health department for your state and learn how it prefers you to record and report communicable disease information.
Which Diseases to Watch For
Again, every state has varying guidelines, but in general, these diseases must be reported: HIV/AIDS; bacterial meningitis; chickenpox; pink eye; salmonella; fifth disease; hepatitis (A, B and C); cold sores (herpes simplex); flu; lice; measles; mumps; mono (mononucleosis); whooping cough; pinworms; RSV (respiratory syncytial virus); roseola; German measles (rubella); scabies; staph infections; ringworm; chlamydia; genital warts; gonorrhoea; genital herpes; strep throat; scarlet fever; and tuberculosis.
Prevent Spreading of Disease
It's vital to report diseases in a timely manner; by law, some diseases may require more hasty reporting than others. Timely reporting helps prevent the spread of disease and protects you, your employees and the children you care for.
In addition, children with communicable diseases should not be allowed into your child care facility until they have a doctor's note saying they are no longer a danger to other children.
Finally, general hygiene can help prevent the spread of some communicable diseases. Use proper hand washing throughout the day. Discourage children from putting their hands and fingers in their mouths and noses. Change diapers with care and always wash and sanitise hands afterward. Follow state laws regarding childhood vaccinations and considering implementing your own rules about disallowing children who aren't vaccinated. Always sanitise your facility on a daily basis.
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