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Don’t Freak Out!

by Iris Graville
November/December 2010
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/dont-freak-out!/5019665/

Last year’s H1N1 influenza threat got everyone planning for high rates of illness and exclusion. But the potential for illnesses that can spread easily in an early childhood setting is high everyday and something programs need to plan for. If (or more likely, when) an illness outbreak does occur, there’s no need to panic; help is available.

Outbreak is a term used in epidemiology (the study of factors that affect the health of populations) to describe an occurrence of a disease that is greater than typically expected in a particular time and place. It may be a disease affecting a small and localized group (such as a cluster of neighborhood children with chicken pox), or it might involve thousands of people across an entire continent. Other words used in connection with outbreaks include epidemics, which affect a region in a country or a group of countries, and pandemics, which describe global disease outbreaks, such as H1N1.

Types of illnesses that can cause an outbreak

Early childhood professionals are well aware that runny noses, coughs, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes are a regular part of life for young children. Most of the time, the illnesses that cause those symptoms are not serious and pose ...

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