It's Monday morning and you are the doctor on call. Odds are that your 7 a.m. page is a frantic, one-foot-out-the-door parent asking, "My child has a runny nose/ a pink eye/ a low-grade fever… should I send him to daycare or keep him home?"
What's the Issue?
Toddlers' illness symptoms can come in many varieties and severities (and, well, colors and sounds and …). But with the pressures of getting yourself to work, taking the best possible care of your child, and an infinite combination of potential sickness signs to sort through, it can be a tough call as to whether to send your child into the mix at daycare or keep him home. How can you decide without a call or trip to your doctor's office?
Consider the Numbers
The average toddler has about one viral infection per month. The average toddler in daycare about doubles that average. Each viral upper respiratory infection lasts seven to 10 days. Doing the math, two of those viral infections per month can make a toddler sick for 20 out of 30 days in a month. And that's the average! It's no wonder that it seems your toddler is sick all season long!
What Parents Can Do
Keep your child's best interests in mind. A sick child is a potential Typhoid Mary at the local daycare. Kids share their toys, their playing spaces, and subsequently their germs. Infections, even in the most compulsively clean of daycare settings, can spread easily.
But also remember that your sick child who is simply droopy, coughing, and out of sorts could be made more seriously ill with a compounded viral or bacterial exposure. In other words, recovering from a simple cold is easier than recovering from a cold plus the flu or the stomach bug.