Working Together To Stay Healthy This Winter blog feature image

Working Together To Stay Healthy This Winter

Ensuring your family stays healthy throughout the 2024 winter season is more difficult than it sounds. Winter is usually the flu season for everyone, but especially for our young children. The added complexity is that when your child becomes sick, they often spread it to family members at home, and infections are common in young children and often lead to illness for many reasons, including:

  • When your child is at home, your child is reasonably well protected from infectious diseases because they do not come into close physical contact with as many people as they do when they attend early childhood services.
  • Your child may be too young to be fully vaccinated against many of the common infections and illnesses they become exposed to.
  • Your child is entering an early childhood service at a time when their immune systems is still developing, and
  • When in care, young children will often put objects in their mouths that others touch, and the older children may not always cover their coughs or sneezes, meaning that diseases can quickly spread in a variety of ways.
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Let’s talk about the chain of infection.  The chain of infection refers to the way in which germs spread. All the steps in the chain need to occur for germs to spread from one person to another. The three steps in the chain of infection include:

1) The germ has a source.

  • Germs spread in a number of ways, including through the air in droplets, through direct contact with skin, and through contact with other body secretions.

2) The germ spreads from the source.

  • Some germs can spread directly from person to person; others can spread from the infected person to the environment. Many germs can survive on hands, and on objects such as toys, door handles and bench tops.

3) The germ infects another person.

  • The way in which a germ spreads is known as its mode of transmission. The way that children interact with each other and with adults in education and care services means that diseases can quickly spread in a variety of ways. The modes of transmission that are most likely to occur in early childhood services through.
  • Coughing or sneezing (droplet transmission) When an infected person sneezes or coughs, tiny droplets are spread into the air and onto surrounding surfaces.
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      The best news is that your Mother Duck service educators and support staff are dedicated to breaking the chain and preventing and controlling the spread of infections.

      So, what is the magical solution? Well, there isn’t one unfortunately. However, to protect your family from getting sick, it’s important that you keep your child healthy and take precautionary methods at home.

      • Instil good hand hygiene
        • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), handwashing should be done for at least the length of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
      • Maintain a healthy diet
        • Maintaining a healthy diet is vital. Ensuring your child receives their recommended amount of healthy foods will enable your child to maintain their immune system and fight off the flu and other viruses.
      • Ensure your child dresses warmly according to the weather
        • It is essential that your child stays warm and dry during an Aussie winter. It is also important that your child stays warm in order to control the rate that heat flows into and out of his or her body. Additionally, if the body gets chilled it becomes weaker and more susceptible to viruses.
      • Keep your child hydrated
        • Keeping your child hydrated during winter can be difficult during winter. However, it’s important as it helps regulate their body temperature and is essential to the proper function of cells, tissues and organs.
      • Most importantly, take a moment to look after yourself
        • Your health matters, and as the family, guardian and/or carer of your child, you need to be at your best to support your child’s health and wellbeing.

      Check out this University Of Queensland Helping Your Child Stay Healthy This Winter Tips and Tricks for more ideas.

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      From a Mother Duck perspective, your child’s health and wellbeing at our service is one of our highest priorities all year round, with consistent health practices and wellbeing risk minimisation strategies being implemented daily. To prevent and break the chain of infection and stop the spread of disease at our services we as a collective focus on:

      • Assisting all children to use effective hand hygiene practices
      • Encourage children to use correct cough and sneeze etiquette
      • Our educators prioritising the completion of effective environmental cleaning monthly, weekly and quite often multiple times daily
      • Excluding ill children, educators and other staff
      • Appropriate use of gloves
      • Supporting the immunisation of all children, and
      • Following recommended health and hygiene strategies to prevent illness and infectious diseases as directed by the Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services publication 

      Together we can fight illness this winter by breaking the chain of infection. Please be assured our teams of Mother Duck educators are committed to ensuring that your little one is kept healthy and secure during their time at Mother Duck. We understand the importance of implementing good health and hygiene practices into our daily routines and rituals with children and do our best to educate your children in ways to minimise sickness this winter.

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