Summer is a great time to see animals at a local fair or farm, to visit a petting zoo, or to have animals come visit an early education and child care facility. As cute as baby goats, ducklings and other animals can be, many of these animals carry germs that can make people sick.
Here are five ways to make visits with animals a safe, fun and healthy experience for all.
Hand Washing: Children and caregivers should wash their hands with soap and water after petting animals, touching animals, or even being in the animal area. Everyone in the group should wash hands whether or not they touched the animals. Find out in advance if soap and water are available. Don't visit if you find out the facility doesnít provide hand washing facilities. You can use hand sanitizers for children with visibly clean hands who are 24 months or older, but some animal germs are resistant to alcohol. As a make-do until you can get to soap and water, carry a plastic bag of paper towels wet with soapy water and a bag of paper towels just wet with plain water to clean and rinse the children's hands. Wash with running water as soon as you can.
Many early education and child care professionals have heard reports about bed bug infestations in children's homes. Many fear the bugs will infest the program's facility. Learn about bed bugs and the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to control of this bug. Lyn Garling, Manager of Programs, PA IPM Program, Penn State University contributed the following expert content and links to credentialed websites where you can learn more. Handouts are available in English and Spanish.
This workshop highlights special practices needed to protect staff and children from contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. Learn how to minimize risk of exposure to disease causing pathogens (germs, viruses, etc.) Learn how to meet Standard Precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. Explore the adequacy of your facility's policies and Exposure Control Plan. Discuss how to handle a biting incident.
Summer is a time when many biting insects are most active. Mosquitoes, stinging insects and ticks are a problem. To minimize insect bites:
This workshop teaches early learning practitioners how to recognize and manage occupational health risks, drawing on the content in Caring for Our Children: the National Health and Safety Performance Standards. Addresses management of stress, infectious disease risks and musculo-skeletal (ergonomic) challenges intrinsic to providing child care. Includes assessment of personal and work-site health promotion strategies.
The CDC is a comprehensive source of information on public health issues, including immunization, sanitation, and infectious disease. The CDC provides a large library of information to the public on many topics. Some of the categories include: Diseases and Conditions; Emergency Preparedness & Response; Environmental Health; Life Stages & Populations; Healthy Living, Injury, Violence & Safety; Traveler's Health; Workplace Safety & Health. The CDC website includes a powerful search engine as well as alphabetical listings. Users will find fact sheets, videos, photos, posters, and other useful materials to download.
Colds, coughs and runny noses are more common in the winter than in any other season. Poor circulation of air, dry heated air and crowded indoor spaces make it easier to share germs. Children in their first couple of years of child care or school have one or two more colds than children their age who receive care only at home and who have no siblings to bring infection home. After three years of child care, children in child care have fewer colds than those who have not had the opportunity to build their immunity in group care.