Two steps to take if there’s a bad case of the flu going around the daycare centre your child goes to

If several of the children at the local day care centre that your child goes to have caught the flu recently, here are some practical tips that you can try out if you want to reduce the chance of this virus affecting your household.

Emphasise hand hygiene.

One of the main ways that people catch the flu and other bugs is via their hands. When your child picks up pencils or toys that their friends at the child care centre, who are still contagious, have handled, it is extremely important that your son or daughter either washes the microbes off their hands or that they avoid bringing their unclean hands up to their face, as if they swipe at their nose or mouth with their contaminated hands, the microbes could get into their system and make them ill.

However, it is not very easy to encourage a small child to be careful about hand hygiene. Aside from gently reminding them not to put their hands near their face every single time you see them doing this, you may also want to buy them a child-safe hand sanitiser that has fun packaging and a scent that they like, and instruct them to put some of this on their hands regularly at the daycare centre. You should only give them this product, however, if you're confident that they will not try to eat any of it (due to its pleasant smell) or rub it in their eyes (as this might cause irritation or nausea, even if the products features mild sanitising ingredients).

Decontaminate your child's daycare backpack before they come into the house after being at the centre.

Even if your child follows your hand hygiene instructions, the belongings that they arrive home with after a day at the child care facility may be contaminated with flu germs if the other ill children coughed, sneezed or wiped their hands over these items. This is why you should try to decontaminate these belongings, using disinfectant wipes, before bringing them into your property. This should reduce the likelihood of you accidentally introducing this virus into your home.

If you're going to take this measure, make sure you read the fine print on the disinfectant wipes packaging and ensure that they specifically state that their ingredients can kill the influenza virus, as if they don't, this decontamination process will be a waste of time and your family might end up catching this illness.