With fall and cooler weather comes cold and flu season. After all, everyone playing inside is a recipe for sharing germs. Though hard to avoid, it's important to recognize when your child is sick or contagious and when to keep them home. The best way to prevent illness is stopping it from spreading at the start. Here are some tips on recognizing when your child is contagious and a few fundamental steps in containing their sickness.
Depending on your child's age and level of communication, it can be hard to gauge the severity of their illness and figure out what's going on with their body. However, identifying symptoms can help you in determining whether they are contagious. For example, while ear infections are uncomfortable, they aren't contagious and your child can still be around other people. Pinkeye, on the other hand, is so contagious that your child can actually reinfect themselves. Pinpoint the symptoms to identify what's wrong and whether or not they need to be quarantined from others.
The most basic indicator of your child being contagious is fever. A fever means that your child's body is hard at work fighting viruses or bacteria, and it is definitely a sign that they need to hang out at home until the fever has passed. Other symptoms such as a rash, runny nose, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea mean your child's body is off-kilter and needs a break away from others.
The best ways to prevent the spread of disease is to wash your hands and your child's hands often. Make sure to wash all their toys, clothes and sheets, and to change out their toothbrush. Keeping them at home and away from other people they can infect helps keep other children healthy. If you have to stay at home, try to take advantage of the cooler weather and time with your child. Make a blanket fort, cozy up with some pillows and get your movie time on. Being sick is never fun, but movies and snuggles definitely help.