Government issues flu guidelines for day care centers
Washington (AP) — Thermometers at day care centers? The government is urging the nation's 360,000 child care providers to be vigilant about sending home children who may have the flu -- and the main symptom to check for is a fever.
Health authorities issued guidelines Friday for day care programs that echo the advice for schools: Vaccine's not only important for kids -- against both regular flu and the new H1N1 flu -- but for workers, too, especially anyone who cares for vulnerable infants.
Many day care providers already have many of the recommended precautions in place, according to Executive Director Katy Chase of the Minnesota Licensed Family Childcare Association. But she says parents should ask just to be sure.
"It's a red flag if, as a parent, you have a provider who's defensive when you're asking questions. I would be concerned," said Chase. "I think that it's a provider's job to make a parent feel comfortable, and know that they're doing the best that they can for their child. They should welcome questions."
The CDC says parents should keep kids home when they're sick, and don't have them return until 24 hours after a fever naturally subsides.
The guidelines also say to stress common-sense flu-fighters: Washing hands often, and teaching children to cough and sneeze into their elbow, not the hand they'll immediately stick onto a toy or a neighbor.
(MPR News' Rupa Shenoy contributed to this report)