Stopping the spread of respiratory diseases
- Make sure children and adults frequently wash their hands.
- Regularly clean and sanitize areas where children live and play.
- Do not allow food to be shared.
- Wash and sanitize any mouthed toys and frequently used surfaces (such as tables).
- Wash eating utensils carefully in hot soapy water; then sanitize and air dry.
- Use disposable cups or wash reusable cups and then dip them in a sanitizing solution after each use and allow them to air dry. Label each child’s cup.
- Air out the rooms daily. Open windows whenever possible to maximize ventilation.
- Allow children to play outdoors as often as possible.
- Teach children to cough or sneeze toward the floor or to their elbow or shoulder. If someone sneezes or coughs into a tissue or hand, properly dispose of the tissue and wash hands.
- Wipe runny noses and eyes promptly, and wash hands afterward.
- Use disposable towels and tissues.
- Dispose of towels or tissues contaminated with nose, throat, or eye fluids in a container lined with a disposable plastic bag.
About Respiratory Tract Diseases
Respiratory tract diseases spread through microscopic infectious droplets of the nose, eye, or throat. Most droplets are shared via hand contact of infected individuals who get their inflected fluids on their hands and then touch surfaces that uninfected people subsequently touch to pick up the germs. Some germs spread by airborne droplets from infected people’s sneezes and coughs. These droplets infect a healthy person through contact with mucus membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth.
People touch their hands to their mouths, noses and eyes all day long—usually without washing first. Each time they touch their mucous membranes with contaminated hands, they inoculate their bodies with the germs they have picked up from surfaces they have touched. Respiratory tract diseases range from mild (viral colds and strep throat) to life threatening (bacterial meningitis). Some are more common in children than in adults. For example, while the common cold affects people of all ages, infants and toddlers usually have six to eight of these viral infections per year.
Young children are more susceptible to infection because they have little experience with infectious agents in the environment, and they are less likely than adults to wash their hands before and after touching their noses, eyes, or mouths. They are also constantly touching and mouthing objects around them. As a result, respiratory tract diseases spread easily in a child care group setting.