The environment in preschools and playschools is perfect for transmission of viruses. Hence, it’s normal for toddlers to get sick when they start group child daycare. Many of the typical illnesses found in preschools including common cold, stomach bugs, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and hand, foot and mouth diseases are caused by viruses.
These bugs are easily spread through direct or indirect contact between toddlers in close proximity who are likely wiping their noses, sneezing and coughing, while sharing toys and food. But, will the child be safe if he didn’t attend preschool? Statistics show that the average child in preschool years gets seven or eight colds each year. So whether the child attends the preschool or not, they get cold and other virus infections.
This is because there are at least 200 cold viruses! Since the children are not exposed to them, they get infected every time they come in contact with a new one. So, they are susceptible to viruses whether they attend the preschool or not. There is nothing much you can do if they contract any virus. Love them, comfort them, and help them recover from illness. You can take some protective measures to decrease the amount of time they are ill.
The best cold and flu prevention strategy is to have a regular active play time, sufficient sleep and good nutritious food. Pack your and your child’s diet with immune boosting foods such as fish, citrus fruits and leafy vegetables. It is also important to serve foods which are rich in protein, zinc, vitamin C and Vitamin D all of which help in boosting the immunity. School going kids generally need 10 hours of sleep. Make sure your child gets this amount of sleep to stay healthy.
A long term study conducted by researchers found that toddlers in preschool get sick more often than toddlers who stay at home. But, those same kids get sick less often when compared to their peers during their elementary school years. This is because they developed immunity to most common cold viruses.
To conclude, yes, children are more likely to get colds, stomach ailments and virus infections when they are in group child care settings. But, it also helps in developing the immunity to these infections in the later part of their life. So, all the nose wiping and late nights now mean fewer sick days in a couple of years.