HEALTH: Parents are encouraged to teach children good cough etiquette as illnesses spread around child care centres this spring.
HEALTH: Parents are encouraged to teach children good cough etiquette as illnesses spread around child care centres this spring. RyanKing999

Contagious infection hits childcare centre in Kingaroy

WITH reports of gastro and hand foot and mouth symptoms at some Kingaroy child care centres, staff are busy doing all they can to stop the spread.

Kingaroy Goodstart Early Learning Centre director Peta Clarkson said their centre had sent several children home with gastro symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea, as well as hand foot and mouth symptoms.

"Sometimes it's annoying to come and collect your child, but it's for the benefit of all children and staff at the centre, we don't want everyone sick," she said.

Darling Downs Health and Hospital Service said there had been reports of some pre-school-aged children in Kingaroy developing gastro symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea, and hand foot and mouth virus.

""They are highly contagious and easily transferable in environments where children are in close proximity to each other, such as childcare centres," a DDHHS spokesperson said.

If parents suspect their child may be suffering from these illnesses, they should seek medical advice from a general practitioner, a pharmacy or by calling 13 HEALTH on 13432584.

Goodstart staff were cleaning the toys, books and furniture several times a day after a child with these symptoms had been sent home, to keep their centre germ-free.

"Everything in that room is washed in hot soapy water, washed with bleach, and put in the sun to dry," Mrs Clarkson said.

It was really hard in a child care setting to stop the spread of infection of the highly contagious illnesses, she said.

"It's a bit frustrating when you've done it and a child comes in the next day and we've got to do it again," Mrs Clarkson said.

Darling Downs Health said parents should keep children well hydrated if the illnesses are present.

"To prevent the spread of illness, it is also very important that children do not attend childcare or school until symptoms are gone," they said.

Children should be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water, not to share cups and encourage good cough etiquette.

Mrs Clarkson said the best place for a child, when feeling unwell, is at home.

"When they're unwell, they want to be at home with mum and dad, not being with all the noise at the centre," she said.

The Goodstart centre have enforced exclusion times, where children have to be symptom-free from vomiting or fevers for 24 hours before returning to the centre.

A Kingaroy Childcare Centre spokesperson said their centre had hand foot and mouth illnesses currently reported.

"We have had some cases of hand, foot and mouth in the past, every couple of years it goes through pretty bad," she said.

If the child is ill, the centre recommends parents should keep them home and seek medical advice.

"What's important is parents should contact us and let us know what illness it is," she said.

By getting suspected cases properly diagnosed, the centres can make sure the rooms are clean and warn other parents of the contagious illnesses going around.

Peanut Kids Kindy and After School Care staff member Tehlia Cosford said they had not had any gastro cases, however there has been a few kids away with colds.

"Our sister centres had a lot going through, we've been quite lucky," she said.

The kindy recommends keeping children at home when they are unwell.

"They always mend quicker when they are at home, and it stops it spreading," Ms Cosford said.

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