Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 7: Infectious Diseases

7.3 Respiratory Tract Infections

7.3.3 Influenza Influenza Prevention Education

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 02/25/2022.

To prepare for influenza season, early care and education programs should provide ongoing infectious disease education for staff and make necessary equipment and supplies available for all staff and children.

  • Staff education should include:
    • The importance of early influenza vaccination for eligible children and staff1
    • Practicing infection prevention measures, including:
    • Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette (sneezing into the elbow or covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; disposing of a used tissue in the nearest trash can, preferably touchless)2
    • Hand hygiene (Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Supervise children when using alcohol-based hand rub, and keep the container out of reach of young children)3,4
    • Not touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth1
    • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects (including frequently touched surfaces) that could be infected with the influenza virus1
  • How to reduce exposure to sick people. If exposed to influenza, monitor for symptoms and stay home if symptoms develop.1
  • Children and staff should stay home until fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.1
  • Programs should provide:
    • Tissues and touchless trash cans for disposal
    • Adequate supplies for hand-washing (i.e., soap, disposable towels), where sinks are available
    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (kept out of reach of young children)4
Ongoing staff education is necessary to reduce the spread of influenza. Practicing respiratory and hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and having appropriate supplies available supports influenza prevention. Immunization is the best way to prevent influenza in adults and children 6 months and older.1
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Health and Safety Education Topics for Staff Inclusion/Exclusion/Dismissal of Ill Children Staff Exclusion for Illness Immunization of Staff Influenza Immunizations for Children and Staff Influenza Control
Appendix G: Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule
Appendix H: Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule
Appendix J: Selection and Use of a Cleaning, Sanitizing or Disinfecting Product
Appendix K: Routine Schedule for Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventive steps. Web site. Last reviewed October 25, 2021. Accessed November 3, 2021.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coughing and sneezing. Web site. Last reviewed April 22, 2020. Accessed November 3, 2021.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When and how to wash your hands. Web site. Last reviewed June 26, 2019. Accessed November 3, 2021.

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. Keep hand sanitizers out of children’s reach. Web site. Published May 20, 2020. Accessed November 3, 2021.


Content in the STANDARD was modified on 02/25/2022.