Diarrheal Diseases

Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of different germs, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. However, children can sometimes have diarrhea without having an infection, such as when diarrhea is caused by food allergies or as a result of taking medicines such as antibiotics. A child should be considered to have diarrhea when the child’s bowel movements are both more frequent than usual and looser and more watery than usual.

Children with diarrhea may have additional symptoms including nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, headache, or fever. Children who are not toilet trained and have diarrhea should be excluded from child care settings regardless of the cause.

Diarrhea is spread from person to person when a person touches the stool of an infected person or an object contaminated with the stool of an infected person and then ingests the germs, usually by touching the mouth with a contaminated hand. Diarrhea can also be spread by contaminated food. For more information on how to prevent foodborne diseases, see the information sheet, “ Foodborne Diseases in the Child Care Setting” in this section. Children in diapers and child care providers who change their diapers have an increased risk of diarrheal diseases.

To prevent diarrheal diseases from spreading in the child care setting: xExclude any child or adult who has diarrhea until these symptoms are gone.

Daycare.com would like to thank the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their contributors for this information in striving to make daycare and childcare a more productive and efficient service.

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