Schools & Daycare Facilities
A wide range of foodborne, surface and airborne pathogens infect millions of children in the U.S. each year. Children are more susceptible to serious illnesses and death from viral and bacterial infections due to their weaker immune systems.
Fighting the world’s worst germs in schools, universities and daycare facilities should be priority number one, yet they are often the most common and prolific breeding grounds for harmful pathogens such as:
- H1N1 Influenza (“swine flu”)
- MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph)
- Pertusis (“whooping cough”)
- Hepatitis B
- Chicken Pox
- …and many more
Why Young Children Are More At Risk
At young ages children have immature and inexperienced immune systems, so they acquire virtually every virus they are exposed to. As a result, when an infection is introduced into the day care setting, it usually makes the rounds of the entire room, and can even affect all the children in the facility (not to mention the adults).
Another significant factor in day care infections is the close physical contact among the participants — both children and adults. Infections that spread by the oral route can easily pass from individual to individual as different babies teethe on the same toys or as toddlers suck their thumbs after touching contaminated surfaces.
Viral and Bacterial Infections Spread Like Wildfire
Once an infection appears, transmission can be extremely rapid. Studies have shown that when a marked virus is introduced on a toy in a day care room of toddlers in the morning, it can be cultured from 80 percent of the children by the end of the day and 50 percent of the parents by the next morning.
Infants and toddlers in day care have a new viral infection about every three to four weeks and manifest symptoms of illness about every two months.
Generally, infants and toddlers in day care have a new viral infection about every three to four weeks and manifest symptoms of illness about every two months. This repeated acquisition of infections may not allow the child’s normal physiology to return to a steady state, making some children prone to chronic infections such as ear infections (otitis media).
Finally, the frequency of illness and possible secondary bacterial complications make children in day care much more likely to have had antibiotic treatment. This raises the likelihood that antibiotic-resistant organisms will emerge, complicating treatment.
Regular Sanitization Can Make a World of Difference
Properly disinfecting school and daycare facilities can have a dramatic and positive impact on the health and safety of children and staff alike.