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Monitoring for Illness (Surveillance)

Children are more susceptible to infectious diseases than adults are. Therefore, this means that we must watch for illness at the centre to stop the spread of illness.

Monitoring for illness includes watching children for signs and symptoms of disease and keeping a record. In doing so, the operators can possibly prevent an outbreak from occurring.  Illness records should include the following information:

  • Attendance and absence of children and staff
  • Signs and symptoms of illness
  • Dates and times that the symptoms started (onset)
  • Tine that the ill child was picked up from the child care centre
  • Dates of field trips, outings and special events

Respiratory symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, chills, muscle aches, fatigue and poor appetite. Occasionally, the child may also experience diarrhea. 

Enteric symptoms include nausea, stomach aches/abdominal cramps, fever, loss of appetite and more than 1 episode of vomiting and/or diarrhea particularly if there is a non=infectious reason for the symptoms (change of diet, reaction to medication, etc.)

According to the Child Care and Early Years Act, child care centres must record a daily health check of each child at the beginning of each day to detect possible symptoms of illness.

If a child or staff develops symptoms of illness while attending the child care centre:

  • Isolate the child from other children and staff. The child must be supervised and cared for while waiting to be picked up
  • Parents/guardians should be called to pick up their child as soon as possible. Remind them of the exclusion period as per the Common Childhood Illness Brochure or centre policy
  • Keep the child comfortable, provide disposable tissues and encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Increase ventilation (e.g. open windows) if it can be done safely
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be available to the staff providing care to the sick child, Once the child leaves the centre, the PPE can be removed and disposed of
  • Clean and disinfect the isolation area

Child care centres must have written policies and procedures outlining steps they will take to monitor for illness and what do do when illness is identified.

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