All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > Flu Center > Q&As > When Is an Illness Contagious?
When Is an Illness Contagious?

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.
- Yvette

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.

Related Articles
P    Diarrhea
T    Gastrointestinal Infections and Diarrhea
T    Hand Washing
T    How Long Is Mono Contagious?
P    What Are Germs?
K    What Are Germs?
T    What's the Difference Between Infectious and Contagious?
K    Why Do I Need to Wash My Hands?
P    Why Is Hand Washing So Important?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved