Your child caught hand, foot and mouth disease? You must be worried about when you can send them to daycare.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) spreads the most during the first week of infection. However, on average, it’s contagious for 3 to 4 weeks. Even when symptoms disappear, the virus can still be present in your child’s body and pass out through feces. It takes weeks or sometimes a month for a child to get totally free from the virus.
Does it mean my child has to stay out of daycare for a whole month? Definitely not. Let’s see when you can send your child back to daycare and 3 tips for preventing this contagious disease.
How Contagious Is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in daycares?
Hand, foot and mouth disease can spread rapidly at daycare centers because there are so many kids, and it’s difficult to create distance among them.
Just a cough or sneeze is enough to spread the virus in the air, which, if inhaled, can affect other children. Sharing toys and playing together can also put other children at risk of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).
It’s necessary to constantly have an eye on an infected child and make sure they are not doing anything that can spread the virus.
How Long Does a Child Stay Out of Daycare With Hand, Foot, and Mouth?
You shouldn’t send your child to daycare for at least one week because this virus spreads the most during this time. Symptoms are also extreme at this point; your child might have a fever and prefer to stay in bed rather than participate in activities.
After a week, it depends on your child’s condition. If they still have a fever and are low in energy, don’t send them to daycare. As your child starts to get better and symptoms disappear, they can go to childcare centers.
Later in this article, we’ll discuss exactly when it’s safe to send your child to the daycare center.
When Is My Child No Longer Contagious With Hand, Foot, and Mouth?
You can’t know when your child is no longer contagious just by looking at their condition. Your kid can spread the virus even after all the symptoms disappear and they feel well.
It’s better to be cautious for at least 1 week after all the symptoms totally disappear. You can send your child to daycare but let the teachers know so they can be careful and take special care of your kid.
When Can My Child Go to Daycare if They Have Hand, Foot, and Mouth?
You don’t have to wait for all the symptoms to disappear. You can send your child if
- They have no fever
- They have no excessive drooling
- Their blisters have dried
- They feel well to participate in activities and go out
Most daycares allow HFMD-infected children in at this point. However, your daycare may not let your child in at this stage. They might be short on staff (as infected kids need special attention), or they can’t take the risk of spreading the disease.
You might be wondering, HFMD is contagious even when symptoms disappear, so is it safe to send my child to daycare this early?
Daycare teachers take extra care of infected children to limit the spread of disease. But to understand that, you should know how HFMD spreads.
How Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Spreads?
The virus can be transmitted in the following ways.
- From the respiratory tract in case of coughing and sneezing
- From mouth in case of contact with saliva or drooling
- Through nose secretion
- Through close contact, such as hugging or kissing
- Through Feces (wash your hands after changing diapers)
Hand, foot and mouth disease doesn’t spread just with contact. Thus you can send your child to daycare. Remember to tell daycare staff about your child’s illness so they can take special care of him and protect other children as well.
What Special Care Does a Child Receive at Daycare if They Have Hand, Foot, and Mouth?
The special attention and care an HFMD-infected child receives are in terms of caution. If your child is ill (has a fever or is low in energy), you shouldn’t send him to daycare in the first place.
Following are the measures daycare staff takes to prevent the spreading of HFMD.
- They’ll keep other children away from making close contact with the infected child
- They make sure the infected kid is not sneezing without tissue or a napkin
- They make sure the tissues are properly disposed
- They make the infected child practice frequent hand washing
- They make sure the infected kid isn’t sharing toys with other children
- They sanitize toys and surfaces if they get any nasal or oral secretion
- They wash their hands after changing diapers
In short, the daycare teachers take care of their own and the infected child’s hygiene to limit the spread of disease.
3 Tips for Preventing Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
If anyone in your circle has hand, foot and mouth disease, follow the following tips to prevent your child from catching it.
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid getting in contact with sick individuals
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands
Hand, foot, and mouth is a contagious disease common in children. Your child can be contagious even after the symptoms are gone. However, you can send your child to daycare when they have no fever, their blisters have dried, have no extreme drooling, and they are feeling well to go out.
We hope this article has informed you about the contagiousness of hand, foot, and mouth disease and reduced your worry about sending your kid to daycare.