Sick Children Should Be Kept At Home


Scripps Howard News Service

It's the flu season in day care, and that combination of upper respiratory-sinus-pink eye-fever ridden-ear infection-sore throat-hacking cough-vomiting and diarrhea seems especially repulsive and clingy this year.

It begins with a head cold, which is instantly swallowed and consumes the child's whole person.

Best thing to do when it begins is to seek medical attention - just to make sure it's not more serious. Fevers tend to be high, and there is always a risk of meningitis and strep. Getting a child into his doctor means you have a reference point later for more medication or a change of medication.

If a biologic mapmaker were to chart this year's infection, he would begin with the nose, then move on to the sinuses.

As the corruption gains momentum, it progresses to the ears, a particularly good place for the enemy to hole up and make one assault after another.

As the mapmaker notes the invader's descent through the throat, tearing it up and inflaming the tonsils, he can watch as it plunges into the stomach and wreaks havoc with the diet and toileting.

What's a parent to do?

Be careful. This year's version of the flu is a really nasty one, and it's very contagious. Get help first, which means taking time off from work to take an ill child to a doctor. The law in most states prohibits taking a child to day care with any of these symptoms:

- Fever of 99 or higher.

- Visible loss of green infectious mucus.

- Vomiting within a 24-hour period.

- Hacking cough.

- Pink-eye.

- Diarrhea.

- Untreated ear infection.

Packing a child with Tylenol and Kaopectate won't contain the infection; and it will do nothing to prevent other children from getting sick.

A good rule of thumb: If your child requires medication in the morning for any of the above symptoms, don't take him to day care. Take a day off. Sleep and rest will make a big difference in your child's recovery time. Your tender loving care will do more for your child's recovery than your provider's will.

If providers turn your child away at the door because he is ill, don't be angry. Be grateful - and go home.

(Judy Lyden is a licensed day-care provider. Write to her:
c/o The Evansville Courier, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, IN
47702, or e-mail to

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