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The World Health Organization has declared Influenza A (H1N1 Virus) to be a pandemic as of June 11, 2009. What follows is information in regard to what you can do to protect yourself. You can also view a Decision Chart (see below link) that will help you to determine the seriousness of any symptoms, and whether to see a doctor, or to immediately go to the emergency room.
(from : Preventing infections in daycare centres. Prepared by CLSC Samuel-de-Champlain.)
Given the current concerns about the Influenza A (H1N1) Virus, it is important to remember how infections are spread and what we can do to prevent them.
For transmission to occur, there must be an infected person likely to transmit the virus. There must be a susceptible person, i.e. a person unable to fight the virus. The virus must travel from the infected person to the susceptible person. This can happen through direct contact, or indirect contact via the air, objects or dirty hands.
Required vaccines increase resistance to the various diseases, and you can prevent transmission by encouraging good health practices. Isolating a sick child will protect the other children.
Adopt hygienic practices
Controlling the spread of infections is the responsibility of daycare providers, health professionals and families. There are many precautions we can take to reduce the risk of infection in a daycare service.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands is the most effective way to reduce the transmission of infections.
Liquid soap is preferable to a bar of soap. Remember to wet and lather hands thoroughly and rub both hands for 30 seconds before rinsing thoroughly under running water.
Teach childen to also wash their hands after toileting, before and after meals, and if possible, after coughing and sneezing.
Washing hands and disinfecting toys will help considerably in reducing the spread of infections.
Watch for signs and symptoms of infection :
- unusual behaviour, runny nose, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, change in skin pigment, rash, fever. A child’s behaviour is highly indicative of the severity of his condition. If he is active, plays and is able to smile, chances are he is not very ill.
Infections in daycares are very common, and very few diseases require quarantine. Encourage parents to tell you why their children are absent, so that if a contagious disease is to blame, you can take the necessary preventive measures.
When in doubt, call your CLSC or Info Sante.
For general questions about the H1N1 virus, you can call the Services Quebec trilingual (English, French, Spanish) information line at 1-877-644-4545 ; or call Info sante at 811, for questions on health.
You may also download handwashing posters. See the related link (Site Pandémie Quebec) : go to www.mfa.gouv.qc.ca. (You may click on the English version.)