Sooner or later your baby or child will be exposed to germs and may end up getting sick. If your baby goes to daycare or to other places they may interact with many children such as a church nursery, play group or public play areas, they may get sick at a younger age, but that does help them build immunity. Some children may not be exposed to a lot of germs until they start attending pre-school or school. Either way, your child will eventually be exposed to some common illnesses.
Jade Elliott sat down with Dr. Shellie Ring, a pediatrician with Intermountain Healthcare to talk about common contagious illnesses your baby might be exposed to at daycare or other public settings.
Some of the most contagious diseases among babies and young children:
Respiratory syncytial virus. Common contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract among children under age two. Symptoms are similar to a cold, but if it progresses it can affect breathing and become serious.
The official name for pink eye is conjunctivitis which is when the membrane that lines your eyelid becomes inflamed. Symptoms in the eye are redness, itchiness, grittiness, discharge that forms a crust during the night and make it difficult for your baby to open their eye in the morning.
Stomach viruses and diarrhea
Viral gastroenteritis is very common and very contagious. Your baby can get it from sharing a cup or utensils with someone who has the virus or coming into contact with infected fecal matter, and then put their hand in their mouth, which can happen a lot in daycare settings.
Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, chills, achiness. It’s important to keep them home from daycare if they have these symptoms.
Hand Foot Mouth Disease
Symptoms include fever, sore throat, runny nose, and then a blister-like rash on the hands, feet or in the mouth. Children are contagious during the first week and remain contagious until the rash has disappeared.
How to help prevent your child from getting sick
The younger your baby is the more you’ll want to avoid public areas during cold and flu season and avoid being around people that are sick.
Importance of proper hand washing and using sanitizer for young children and caregivers before eating and after diaper changing, using the bathroom, touching pets, being in public spaces or if anyone has symptoms.
Changing tables and potty chairs, should be sanitized after each use at daycare. Toys and other items frequently touched like bathroom fixtures, drinking fountains, doorknobs or handles should be sanitized daily.
Click here for more information about viruses and where in Utah they are active.
The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.