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Originally Published by Philly Voice

Sending your child to daycare for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. As you prepare your little one for this new chapter, you should brace yourself for the inevitable bouts of sickness and the high likelihood that those germs will find their way to you.

While at daycare, kids spend the day interacting closely and sharing toys, all while practicing less-than-optimal hygiene habits. And some children may not have developed immunities to many of the illnesses they’ll encounter yet. This makes group childcare settings a perfect breeding grounds for infections.

Bringing germs home

A study by University of Utah researchers found that the more children there are in a household, the more likely it is that someone in the house will be infected with a respiratory virus. This may hold especially true if your child is exposed to many other kids at daycare on a daily basis.

But respiratory illnesses aren’t the only diseases that are common at daycare centers. Infections that make children vomit and/or give them diarrhea are also typical. So are bug infections such as head lice and scabies; hand, foot and mouth disease; and pinkeye.

That may make you want to keep your child at home until adulthood or send them to daycare in a Haz-Mat suit, but don’t worry — there is a silver lining! A study published in 2010 found that being exposed to an infection seems to help young children develop an immunity, reducing their chance of catching it again even a few years later.

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infection prevention