A: From the infection standpoint, it is important to understand that most illnesses in the day care, preschool and early elementary years are caused by viruses. These germs cause colds, coughs, runny noses, ear infections, diarrhea, vomiting, fevers and rashes. All of us have seen and been infected with many, if not most, of these germs during our own early years. They are a normal part of growing up and developing one’s own healthy immune function, regardless of how disruptive, inconvenient and unpleasant they are to family, work and life. These infections help us develop our immune function and our ability to be healthy and well in our teen and adult years.
The infections that we want to prevent—and are fortunate enough to have the means to do so—are the serious bacterial and viral infections. They’re avoided with basic sanitation and vaccines. Many, if not most, of the serious infections (meningitis, measles, mumps, whooping cough and more) will be prevented with the routine childhood immunizations. Basic sanitation is also key.
Some things to look for when looking at day care centers include: