Is your daycare doing enough to prevent a flu pandemic? Few are, study finds

Does your daycare have a plan for dealing with an influenza pandemic? LISA POWELL / STAFF

Remember the swine flu aka H1N1 of 2009. It was pretty nasty and spread throughout summer camps, childcare centers, offices, amusement parks, etc.

Researchers Timothy R. Shope, Benjamin H. Walker, Laura D. Aird, Linda Southward, John S. McCown and Judith M. Martin did a phone survey and wanted to know if that experience made any difference on the outcome of a previous study they had done with daycare directors.

They had talked to 1500 randomly chosen daycare center directors in 2008 (before swine flu) and this time talked to 518 directors in 2016 (after swine flu). They asked about what preparations daycare centers were taking regarding a potential influenza pandemic. 

They looked at these areas to assess preparedness: general infection control, communication, seasonal influenza control, use of health consultants, quality of child care and perceived barriers.

What researchers found was that only about 7 percent of daycare centers had taken “concrete actions” to prepare for an influenza pandemic. It also didn’t seem to matter if a daycare director had been through swine flu in the 2016 survey.

Researchers recommend that centers enlist the help of a consultant to enact measures that will help cut down on the spread of illness, including a influenza pandemic.

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