Diseases Commonly Associated with Daycare
Contrary to popular belief,
getting sick in daycare does NOT help kids build up their immunities*!
"The typical daycare
center...spreads far more infection and communicable disease than the county
& Bible Bloopers by David Mills, ©2000, p 165-166
"This is not surprising: (Day care)
exposes babies and toddlers to large numbers of biological strangers, many
of whom are not toilet trained and who drool, making day care a breeding
ground for infectious disease."
Day Careless, by
Maggie Gallagher,a Nationl Review, 26-Jan-1998
Even worse, "...An epidemiologist termed day care
centers 'the open sewers of the twentieth century'."
Deception, by Brian C. Robertson, ©2003, p 87
Finally, "...the risks posed to infant
and child health by day care are not going away.
...antibiotics are a fading asset; virulent new strains of disease resistant
to these drugs now find their way into the (childcare) centers."
Dream of Social Parenting" by Alan C. Carlson, Family Policy Review,
There's a horrible litany of
"Daycare-Related Illnesses" (DCRIs), as they are called...
The War Against the Family by William D. Gairdner, ©1992, p342
Children attending day care are very good at sharing a number of bacterial,
viral, and parasitic infections with each other. Day care is an ideal
environment for the spread of disease among children, because: the children
move about and interact with other, their personal hygiene is less than
ideal, their ability to control their bodily secretions and excretions is
poor, and their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
Health website, by Dr. Daniel Ravel, DDS
"Daycare centers are cesspools of
germs. They combine the worst of the respiratory infections that
school-age children contract with gastrointestinal infections spread by
younger kids, especially those not potty trained."
Harley A. Rotbart, M. D., a professor of pediatrics and
microbiology at the University of Colorado and the author of Germ Proof
Since daycares are like petri dishes for
germs, it is no wonder that many doctors' new
patient information forms now ask, "Does the patient attend daycare"?
Not too many years ago, these forms only used to ask about tobacco and
*Early exposure to germs and other
organisms does cause more symptoms early in a child's life, but without a
counterbalancing health benefit later on, as was previously believed...
"Day Care May Not Shield Kids From Asthma, Allergies" (Study debunks
'hygiene hypothesis' that early exposures boost immune response)
Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter for U.S. News &
World Report, 9-Sep 2009
(This is not meant to be an
all-inclusive list. It only contains diseases referenced elsewhere on this
For more information on a specific illness, type the name of the disease
into the website's
SEARCH function.) Disclaimer:
Medical information is not medical advice. Only a doctor can provide
you with medical advice
(Compiled from a variety of
An allergy is
an immune malfunction whereby a person's body is hyposensitized to react
immunologically to typically nonimmunogenic substances. It can result in
symptoms ranging from a benign runny nose to life-threatening anaphylactic shock
(AOM), Acute Otitis Media
Acute Otitis Media - an ear infection
that has become alarmingly common among young children in day-cares.
Asthma is characterized by
bronchial inflammation, mucus production and intermittent airway
A person with asthma may experience wheezing, shortness of
breath, chest tightness and cough.
"...autism may be statistically linked
to early non-maternal child care."
Is Autism Statistically Linked to Early Non-Maternal Child Care?
©2004 by Maxson J.
McDowell Ph.D., L.M.S.W.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the
bronchi of the lungs. The symptoms can include discolored mucus
(white, yellow, or green), bloody (pink, red or rust-streaked) mucus,
shortness of breath (worsened by activity), wheezing, fatigue, low-grade fever, chest discomfort, and malaise.
Bronchiolitis is inflammation of the
bronchioles, the smallest air passages of the lungs.
This is most commonly caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
In a typical case, an infant develops cough,
wheeze and shortness of breath over one or two days. The infant may be
breathless for several days. After the acute illness, it is common for the
airways to remain sensitive for several weeks, leading to recurrent cough
and wheeze. There is a possible link with later asthma.
Chicken pox is a highly contagious viral
disease, so children are especially vulnerable in daycare settings. It is characterized by a fever followed by itchy raw pox or
Rhinovirus is the most common viral
infective agents in humans. The most well-known disease caused by
rhinoviruses is the common cold, a mild viral infectious disease of the
upper respiratory system that lasts between 3 to 10 days. Children in
daycare suffer from many more colds than children cared for by parents in
their own home.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the
conjunctiva (the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the
eyelids), due to infection. It causes marked grittiness/irritation
and a stringy, opaque, grey or yellowish mucoid discharge that may cause the
lids to stick together (mattering), especially after sleeping. It most often
affects young children through epidemics that spread rapidly in communal
settings such as child care centers.
a.k.a. "Pink Eye"
Viral conjunctivitis' symptoms include
watery discharge, variable itch, and the fact that the infection usually
begins with one eye, but may spread easily to the fellow eye.
Crypto is a parasitic protozoan disease
that can cause loose, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and a slight
fever. Spread through the fecal-oral route, it is often spread in
daycare centers where many diapers are changed. Cryptosporidium is
resistant to chlorine (bleach) disinfection.
CMV is the leading cause of congenital
infection worldwide; approximately 10 percent of infants infected prenatally
have significant complications. Unfortunately, controlling the spread of the
infection is very difficult because children who contract the virus often
show no symptoms. As a result, children can unwittingly carry the virus
home from child care and spread it to their unborn siblings through their mothers.
Dysentery is a severe diarrhea illness
often associated with blood in the feces. There are two major types:
1) Shigellosis and 2) amoebic dysentery.
Epiglottitis is inflammation of the
epiglottis. Due to its place in the airway, swelling of this structure can
interfere with breathing and constitutes a medical emergency.
Symptoms include fever, difficulty swallowing, drooling and stridor
(suffocating noises). The early symptoms are insidious but rapidly
progressive, and swelling of the throat may lead to cyanosis (skin turning
blue) and asphyxiation.
Fifth Disease is a contagious viral
illness commonly spread among children, especially in close settings such as
daycares. 5th Disease is caused by the human
Symptoms often resemble a mild case of the flu, sometimes followed by bright
red rash on the face ("slapped cheek disease"), and possibly later a blotchy rash on the body.
Gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the
gastrointestinal tract, is an illness of fever, diarrhea
and/or vomiting caused by an infectious virus, bacterium or parasite.
Sometimes it is referred to simply as 'gastro'. It is often incorrectly
referred to as the 'stomach flu' even though it is not related to influenza.
Children who attend day care are three times more likely to
suffer from acute gastroenteritis than children who do not.
Caused by the microscopic Giardia
parasite, Giardiasis is a diarrheal illness passed via the
fecal-oral route common in child-care settings. Primary routes are personal contact and contaminated
water and food.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
HFMD is characterized by fever, sores in
the mouth, and a rash with blisters. The most common cause is
coxsackievirus A16. Outbreaks in childcare facilities most often occur
in the summer and fall months. It is not the same as 'Foot-and-Mouth'
(Hoof-and-Mouth) Disease of cattle, sheep, and swine.
Hemophilus influenza type B meningitis
Haemophilus influenzae type B meningitis
is an infection of the tissue which covers the brain (meninges) caused by
the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae. In addition to meningitis, this
bacterium can also cause blood stream infections (sepsis), pneumonia, joint
and bone infections and other infections.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious
disease affecting the liver, caused by the Hepatitis A virus
(HAV). Symptoms may include: jaundice (yellow eyes), dark urine,
nausea, fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, stomach ache, and vomiting.
Hepatitis A is spread by poor hygiene and sanitation, which is inevitable in
daycare bugs are even more hazardous to adults than they are to children,
Dr. Rotbart explains. "Kids transmit hepatitis A very efficiently from child
to child in daycare centers. The infected child may come home without any
symptoms, but parents can be laid up for four to six weeks"
Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection
caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
It is transmitted in the blood and body fluids of someone who is infected.
The infection may become chronic, especially in infants and children,
leading to liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis — a condition that
causes permanent scarring of the liver.
The Herpes Simplex Virus causes high fever and
painful ulcers in the mouth. The virus is spread person to person through saliva and infected sores.
It may later recur as cold sores. Both HSV-1 (which produces most cold
sores) and HSV-2 (which produces most genital herpes) are ubiquitous and
The most common
type is impetigo contagiosa, which usually starts as a red sore on a child's
face, most often around the nose and mouth. The sore ruptures quickly,
oozing either fluid or pus that forms a honey-colored crust.
This bacteria spreads easily wherever groups of people are in close
contact, such as day care.
The Flu is a virus that attacks the respiratory
tract. Since Influenza is spread or transmitted when a person who has the
flu coughs, sneezes, or speaks and sends flu virus into the air, it can
spread like wildfire through the close quarters of a childcare center.
Influenza's effects can be severe or even deadly. Influenza has
caused some of the most devastating epidemics /pandemics in recorded world history.
Croup is an inflammation of the voice
box (larynx) and the airway just beneath it.
It is often characterized by a loud barking cough.
The biggest concern with croup is whether severe breathing difficulty will
develop from swelling of the airway. Some infants and children with severe
croup may need to be admitted to a hospital's Intensive Care Unit.
Lice are tiny (1/8 inch or 3 mm), wingless, parasitic
insects that feed on blood.
This itchy infestation is easily spread
through close personal contact and by sharing personal belongings, which is
unavoidable in day-care.
Signs and symptoms of lice include: Intense itching, lice on the scalp, the
body, clothing, or other body hair. Lice eggs (nits) on hair shafts resemble
tiny pussy willow buds. Nits can be mistaken for dandruff, but unlike
dandruff they can't be easily brushed out of hair. Lice leave small, red bumps on the
scalp, neck and shoulders.
Measles is primarily a
respiratory infection caused by a highly contagious virus. Also called rubeola
or morbilli, measles can be serious and even fatal for small children.
The characteristic red, blotchy rash is just an outward sign of more
worrisome changes. Not surprisingly, there is an increased risk of measles
infection at day-care centers...
Bacterial meningitis is an infection of
the central nervous system caused by a
number of different strains of bacteria.
The complications of bacterial meningitis can be severe, causing permanent
neurological damage, including hearing loss, blindness, loss of speech,
learning disabilities, behavior problems and brain damage, even paralysis.
a matter of days, the disease can lead to shock and death.
Non-neurologic complications may include kidney and adrenal gland failure.
Probably more common than bacterial
meningitis, viral meningitis occurs most often in children. It is
characterized by symptoms of headache, fever and general ill feeling.
Sometimes the disease progresses with further symptoms: nausea and vomiting,
stiff neck, sore throat, abdominal pain, muscle pain, photophobia, altered
consciousness. The viruses that cause viral meningitis may spread in
institutional settings such as child-care through contact with stools and
possibly through respiratory secretions,
Mumps is a viral infection. which can be
easily spread in daycares.
Symptoms may include: swollen, painful salivary glands on one or both sides
of the face, pain with chewing or swallowing, fever, weakness and fatigue,
tenderness and swelling of a testicle (orchitis). Even people who received a
Measles Mumps Rubella vaccination (MMR) may become infected with mumps.
Norovirus infection is characterized by
nausea, forceful vomiting, watery diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and in some
cases, loss of taste. Outbreaks often occur in crowded, closed places like
long-term care facilities, daycare centers, and prisons. The viruses are
transmitted by fecally-contaminated food or water, by person-to-person
contact, and via aerosolization of the virus and subsequent contamination of
The name, Norovirus, comes from "Norwalk virus". It is also called "Winter
vomiting bug" in Britain.
Otitis media (ear infections)
Acute infections of the middle ear
typically produce a lot of pain and are usually accompanied by a
fever. Other signs and symptoms may include a loss of appetite or a feeling
of dizziness or loss of balance. Long-lasting or recurrent infections can
damage the eardrum, ear bones and middle ear structures and may cause
permanent hearing loss. In young children, even short-term hearing loss
can cause delayed speech development.
Ear infections have become alarmingly common among young children in
In addition to causing
Fifth Disease, Parvovirus B19 has been known to
harm and even kill unborn children of infected pregnant women.
Although pregnant mothers of children attending daycare can be infected,
pregnant daycare workers have an increased risk of contracting this disease.
Pharyngitis (sore throat)
Technically, a sore throat isn't a
disease. Most often, it's a symptom of another illness — usually a viral
infection such as a cold or the flu (influenza). Most sore throat germs are
transmitted through direct contact. For example, a sick child touches
a toy. Another child in the daycare handles the same toy, picking up the germs, which are
eventually transferred from the hands to the mouth or nose.
Pinworms are small, white worms that
live in the intestines. They cause intense itching when the female
pinworm comes out of the rectum to lay eggs around the anus. Pinworms
are highly contagious! Bed linens, clothing, carpets, etc., can be
contaminated with their eggs. The infected person's hands will, invariably,
be contaminated with eggs, providing a route for reinfection and egg
dispersal throughout the entire daycare.
Pneumococcus is a bacteria that causes
many different kinds of infections in people, ranging from ear infections
and sinus infections to pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis.
An inflammation of the lungs usually
caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, fungi or other organisms.
There are more than 50 kinds of pneumonia ranging in seriousness from mild
to life-threatening. Although signs and symptoms vary, many cases of
pneumonia develop suddenly, with chest pain, fever, chills, cough and
shortness of breath. Complications can include bacteria in the
bloodstream, fluid accumulation and infection around the lungs, and lung
Rotavirus is the most common cause of
severe diarrhea among children. It may often result in hospitalization.
The disease is characterized by vomiting and watery diarrhea for 3 - 8 days.
Fever and abdominal pain occur frequently. The primary mode of transmission
is fecal-oral, which is very common in daycare centers.
Ringworm (Dermatophytosis) is a contagious fungal infection.
People can get it from direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person
or pet or indirect contact with an object or surface that an infected person
or pet has touched. Ringworm appears
as a circle of rash on the skin that's red and inflamed around the
edge and healthy looking in the middle.
It can spread quickly in daycare centers, where close contact is common.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a
common virus that causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract.
Children who attend child-care centers or who have siblings who do are at a
higher risk of infection. RSV usually causes mild cold-like signs and
symptoms similar to those present during an upper respiratory infection.
Most persons infected with Salmonella
develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after
infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. However, in some persons
the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.
Salmonella are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated
with feces. Food may become contaminated by the hands of an
infected child care worker who forgot to wash his or her hands with soap after
using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
Scabies is an itchy skin condition
caused by a tiny, eight-legged burrowing mite called Sarcoptes
scabiei . It causes intense itching. The sheer discomfort of scabies can
produce an almost irresistible urge to scratch.
Scabies is contagious through close physical contact prevalent in a
childcare setting. It can spread quickly.
Shigellosis is an infectious disease
caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most who are infected with
Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and painful stomach cramps starting a day
or two after they are exposed to the bacterium. The diarrhea is often
bloody. In some persons, especially young children, the diarrhea
can be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. A severe
infection with high fever may also be associated with seizures in children
less than 2 years old. Some persons who are infected may have no symptoms at
all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others. Shigellosis
in day-care centers has become a common problem.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
A condition also known as crib death.
SIDS strikes suddenly and silently, Typically, a peacefully sleeping
baby simply never wakes up.
An infection of the sinus cavities.
Sinusitis can aggravate asthma.
Streptococcus pneumoniae ("strep")
Strep throat may lead to serious
complications, including: Tonsillitis, Sinusitis, ear infections, and
Scarlet fever. Additionally, strep throat may also lead to rheumatic
fever, which can cause heart damage. Strep throat is caused by bacteria
called group A streptococci (GAS). Strep may be easily spread in
childcare/daycare centers. It is most common during the winter and early
Tapeworm is an intestinal parasite that
is transmitted by ingesting
infected fleas. Some children will have diarrhea, cramping,
abdominal pain, and, sometimes, rectal or anal itching. Fleas in daycare are usually found either on animals
or in a sand box.
Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the
tonsils caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
Sometimes the swelling can be so severe that the roof of the mouth and
tongue meet, blocking air flow and making swallowing extremely difficult. It
is spread by close contact such as in daycare centers...
A life-threatening infection that
primarily affects the lungs, has again become an increasing health concern. TB spreads through airborne droplets when
an infected person coughs, talks or sneezes. Pulmonary TB can
cause permanent lung damage.
Tuberculosis can also spread to other parts of the body where it can lead to
serious or life-threatening complications. The growing number of children
cared for in group settings (daycares, preschools, etc. ) where repeated and
prolonged exposure to TB is possible has caused alarm among medical
Whooping cough (pertussis)
Whooping cough affects the chest,
airways and lungs. It's caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria,
which spread through droplets of respiratory secretions that are coughed or
sneezed into the air by someone who's already infected. Pertussis is highly
contagious, and institutional outbreaks of whooping cough, such as those in
a daycare centers are common. Symptoms include severe coughing attacks that
end with a high-pitched whoop sound as the infected person gasps for air.
These may be so severe that the person vomits or turns red or blue from the
effort. For young children, complications from whooping cough are severe and
may also include: Pneumonia, slowed or stopped breathing, seizures, brain
damage, or even death.
information is not medical advice. Only a doctor can provide you with