How do you know when a child's illness is in the contagious stage? I run a daycare and would like to be able to take the right precautions at the right time when kids get sick.
It's important to keep in mind that most viral illnesses are contagious before a child shows any symptoms of being sick. In other words, a child who is infected is often spreading the virus even before feeling sick — which makes it virtually impossible to stop the spread of infections.
The best way to try to prevent the spread of germs is to encourage frequent hand washing, even when kids feel well. Kids should wash their hands after playing outside, before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after going to the bathroom.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012
Have a question? Email us.
Although we can't reply personally, you may see your question posted to this page in the future. If you're looking for medical advice, a diagnosis, or treatment, consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. If this is an emergency, contact emergency services in your area.
|National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) conducts and supports basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.|
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|Hand Washing Did you know that the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands? If you don't wash your hands frequently, you can pick up germs from other sources and then infect yourself.|
|What Are Germs? Germs are the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease. With a little prevention, you can keep harmful germs out of your family's way.|
|Gastrointestinal Infections and Diarrhea Nearly everybody gets diarrhea every once in a while, and it's usually caused by gastrointestinal infections. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. Read this article to learn more.|
|How Long Is Mono Contagious? Once someone gets mono, the virus stays in that person's body for life. This doesn't mean that if you've had mono you are always contagious, but it does mean the virus may surface from time to time and possibly infect someone else. Here are the facts on how mono works.|
|Diarrhea Most kids battle diarrhea from time to time, so it's important to know what to do to relieve and even prevent it.|
|What Are Germs? You know they can hurt you, but what are these invisible creatures? Find out in this article for kids.|
|What's the Difference Between Infectious and Contagious? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Why Do I Need to Wash My Hands? Washing your hands is the best way to stop germs from spreading. Learn all about the best way to wash your hands in this article for kids.|
|Why Is Hand Washing So Important? Did you know that proper hand washing is the best way to keep from getting sick? Here's how to teach this all-important habit to your kids.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.