Flu season is here. Learn what you can do in your program to reduce risk for children and staff this flu season. Dr. Susan Aronson, MD, FAAP, ECELS Founder and Pediatric Advisor presented the current recommendations and shared prevention tips programs can follow. The live webinar was held on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. 

During and after her presentation, Dr. Aronson answered questions about flu posed by participants. The answers to live polling questions are in the updated handout attached to this description. Users of the recorded version of this webinar will hear the results of the live polling. The answers to the questions posed by participants prior to the webinar and via the chat box are inclcuded at the end of the handout.

This webinar is designed for child care program directors, family child care providers, health professionals, child care health consultants, child care health advocates, supervisory staff, Regional Key staff, instructors and MIECHV home visitors. Participants will receive 1.5 hours of professional development credit for participating and submitting an evaluation. PA Key, Act 48 and CME/CEU professional development credit from University of Pittsburgh will be available.  CME/CEU credit is only available for the live webinar.

Participants will learn how to:
1. Explain recommendations for the 2015-16 influenza season.
2. Discuss why universal influenza immunization is so important.
3. Share flu prevention and control strategies for early education and child care settings.

Follw the instructions offered in the wrap-up slide and explanation during the webinar for how to use participation either live or via the recording to claim credit . To listen to the recording click here

View free, online demonstrations of step-by-step, easy ways to prepare foods for children's meals and snacks. Culinary Institute chefs show the proper techniques in 16 print and 51 brief video lessons. The foods are from the United States Department of Agriculture's collection of recipes for schools. The National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi hosts the website with this excellent professional development resource.

In addition to the videos and print lessons, the website offers six online courses that allow users to earn continuing education credits. The print and video lessons, online courses and USDA recipes are at http://nfsmi.org/Templates/TemplateDefault.aspx?qs=cElEPTIxNg.

Food-borne illness is very common. The risk of this type of illness increases in warm weather. Sending food from home and eating out-of-doors may allow perishable food to reach temperatures that foster bacterial growth. A 2011 study reported in the journal, Pediatrics measured temperatures of lunches that families packed and sent with their preschool children. The researchers found only 1.6% of lunches with perishable items were at safe temperature. The study was done in nine Texas child care centers and measured temperatures in the packed lunches of more than 700 preschoolers. Even when sent with ice packs, most of the lunches were at unsafe temperatures over an hour before the food was ready to be served. The message is clear: Early educators and families must adopt practices that ensure food is at a safe temperature before feeding it to children. 

This fact sheet provides general information for parents and caregivers about hand hygiene, it's importance in preventing the spread of infectious disease in early education and care programs, and the procedures to follow for hand washing and for use of hand sanitizers. Updated 11/2012

Correct hand hygiene is important in all seasons. Use information on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to remind everyone about how and when to do it.

Use the CDC posters and the information from the CDC website to make your own posters with photos of the children, drawings or magazine clippings. Here is some wording adapted from the CDC web-site to use on posters in child care programs:

  • The flu virus can live on surfaces such as door knobs and tabletops for up to 24 hours. Routine cleaning of surfaces and proper hand hygiene may reduce the spread of flu.
  • Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs (microbes) on them in most situations.
  • If soap and water are not available, adults and children older than 24 months of age who are close-ly supervised by adults can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situa-tions, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

WHEN to perform hand hygiene:1

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers, soiled pull-ups or underwear, or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet (Before changing diapers too, if hands touched body fluids before the change)
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

HOW to perform hand hygiene:2 Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply liquid soap. (Let the water run if you can’t turn it off without touching the faucet with soiled hands.)
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or as close to 20 seconds as possible. Need a timer? Hum or sing "Happy Birthday" or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” from beginning to end twice. Make up words to sing about hand washing with these familiar song tunes.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Use a paper towel to turn off the wa-ter if the taps do not shut off automatically.

1 http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html
2 http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

Handwashing is a your best defense against germs.  Use this poster developed by the North Carolina Division of Public Health as a reminder about the importance and steps for handwashing.  Click here to access the poster.  Reviewed and reaffirmed 6/2018.

This form guides collaborative problem-solving involving those who are affected, those with authority, and those with expertise. The form encourages documentation of who is involved, the tasks planned, who is responsible, and checkpoints for follow-up. The attachments include a blank copy of the form and a sample of the completed form to address the problem of a 2 year old child who is biting other children.

Brochure that describes the role of a sanitarian or food safety consultant for early education and child care programs. Reviewed and reaffirmed 11/2012

This online professional development opportunity is for directors and administrative staff in centers that serve 25 or more children and who are new users (subscribers) using the WellCareTrackerTM Internet application software, available from ECELS. The professional development experience involves working with the user-friendly internet application on any computer connected to the Internet to review children's health records, identify and track gaps in the children's required preventive health services. WellCareTrackerTM software uses the dates of preventive health care services entered for each child at any time thereafter to report whether the child is currently up to date, overdue or will be due in the next three months for specific services. In addition to reports for individual children that can be given to parents, the system produces a report for all the children entered. This report makes it easy to  track needed services and follow-up with families. Currently, the PA Department of Health is doing random audits of the immunization records that state regulations require child care programs keep on file to show children are up to date. The health reports should give information about screening tests and special needs too. WellCareTrackerTM lets staff make sure children have received all the services that they need to be healthy and ready to learn. In addition to being protected against vaccine preventable infectious disease, they need to be free of treatable conditions such as hearing and vision problems, anemia or lead poisoning. Look for the detailed description of the self-learning module on the left pane of the WellCareTracker(TM) home page at www.wellcaretracker.org under "ECELS - Self Learning Module." PA child care practitioners may submit completed work for review for credit by scanning the pages and attaching them to an e-mail, sending them by fax or by surface mail to ECELS. Be sure to follow the instructions in the “Important Reminders” box next to the list of self-learning modules on this webpage. (ECERS-ITERS: Personal Care Routines, Program Structure. K7-C3-78 or K8-C3-91. 6/2017

Steps for child care facilities to prevent illness. This approach is for all facilities, but will be especially helpful to those who want to meet the Pennsylvania standards for STARS.  Published in the February 2006 issue of Health Link Online. Updated 2/23/06. Reviewed and reaffirmed 11/2012.