health saftety and nutrition
this is just the notes for the test when i get to it but haven’t made it that far yet. i will send the test when i get it pulled up. Welcome to Lesson 3, where we begin looking at the young child and communicable illness. Young children in group care, especially those under three years of age, are highly susceptible to communicable illness. They have had fewer opportunities than older children to build up antibodies to protect them from germs that cause illness. In addition, immature development of body structures contributes to a higher rate of illness, and group care settings are conducive to the transfer of illness. We will first make sure we have a clear understanding of how an illness is spread and what causes illness in the first place. We will look specifically at how teachers can prevent the spread of infection, how to identify symptoms of specific illnesses, and how to manage a child who shows signs of illness.
Any time children are gathered under one roof for any length of time, communicable illnesses are inevitable. With an awareness of the various symptoms, careful planning, and established guidelines, the severity of the illness and the number of children who contract the illness can be kept low. The readings for this lesson cover these matters in detail.
Having the right information helps to cope with unforeseen, as well as foreseen, health-related issues. Each child care center should have a listing of the phone numbers of parents, hospital, poison control center, ambulance, police, and fire department. In a separate file and in each child’s folder should be release forms signed by the parent authorizing emergency medical treatment. The staff must also be familiar with various medications (their effects and side effects) and basic safety precautions with regard to lifting and transferring children. Parents and teachers need to work together in knowing and reporting to each other the early signs of illness. The center’s or school’s policy on when and why children should remain home should be distributed in writing and be discussed with parents individually and, if possible, at a parent meeting.
The importance of immunizations must not be overlooked. We have come a long way in preventing many childhood diseases through immunization. Despite these efforts, it is estimated that 20 to 25 percent of children have not received the immunizations recommended for all children. Parents and teachers need to be fully educated on the necessity of immunization.
The body’s immune system cannot provide perfect protection from all disease, but immunization provides very important protections from many. When a person is immunized, dead or weakened strains of the bacteria or viruses responsible for causing specific diseases are injected, or, as in the case of the polio vaccine, taken by mouth. Although the “germs” in these vaccines are not capable of causing the full-blown illness for which they would be responsible in their fully active state, they still contain the antigens, which will stimulate antibody production. In many cases, ample antibody production without illness is best achieved by a series of injections given at carefully worked-out intervals. Basically, the human body needs antibodies to fight disease, and the immunization schedule is important to keep the antibody level effectively high. That is why booster shots as children get older are almost as important as the baby shots or initial immunizations.
It was only ten years ago, prior to the development of the haemophilus influenza Type B (Hib) immunization, that we saw many cases of meningitis and the devastating effects of this illness. I once was working with infants and young children in a pediatric/neonatal intensive care unit. Those of us working in this unit observed that the onset of meningitis symptoms was so quick, and the damage to the brain so severe due to the swelling, that the damage was similar to a head injury, varying from mild to severe. Children suffered permanent hearing, speech, vision, learning and/or motor problems, and sometimes died. It was such a relief to see the numbers of children hospitalized with meningitis dramatically decrease after the Hib vaccine was introduced to the immunization schedule. It is wonderful that we can now prevent this illness; but if children are not fully immunized, they are not protected.
Physically and medically fragile infants and children in a program’s care pose special challenges. As infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, these children will require frequent medical checkups or perhaps will need to be scheduled for specific therapy intervention sessions. Many of the children will exhibit poor motor control, seizures, and susceptibility to upper respiratory illness. It is for this reason and others that an exceptional child may develop frequent colds, contract a number of the communicable illnesses, or require care for accidents. This means teachers, therapists, and parents must be knowledgeable in first-aid techniques, in dealing with medical emergencies, in recognizing symptoms of illness, and in responding appropriately. Also, any person employed by a program that enrolls children with disabilities should be familiar with both the symptoms and the treatment procedures for the problems associated with its population. Children with mental, medical, and physical handicaps are at high risk for further complications if certain precautions are not taken in advance. These children are as susceptible as nonhandicapped children to getting childhood illnesses such as measles, chicken pox, colds, or strep throat. Because of the children’s tendency toward more frequent upper respiratory infections, however, they may take longer to recover.
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