Keeping Your Child Safe From H1N1

This site is an effort to take the best official information about the impact of H1N1 on children and put it into easy to understand to understand language.

Some insurance companies are NOT paying for H1N1 related expenses! Do you know what your company’s policy is?  We recently added a page about H1N1 and your health insurance , because those issues are so complicated and so important for health care in the United State.

We have a great report from the Texas Department of Insurance on what expenses insurance companies are paying, a check list on the questions you should consider about your coverage, and some strategies about buying short term coverage if you are uninsured or under insured.  Check it out: H1N1 and Insurance.

Swine Flu In Children

Many of the early cases of Swine flu appeared to disproportionally effect children.  Though, it is not been firmly established it appears that children and young people born after the late 1970s may be more at risk than other elements of the population, because they do not have not been exposed to a Swine Flu virus before this outbreak.

Parents, teachers, and others who interact with children are justified to be concerned about H1N1, but, remember, most people, including children, infected with the H1N1 virus, also known as the Swine Flu, in the United States have had mild disease, but some have had more severe illness, and young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases like diabetes, or heart disease may be at higher risk for complications from this infection.

In fact, people with respiratory illnesses, such as asthma or emphysema, are particularly vulnerable to the Swine Flu.  In layman’s terms, severe cases of the Swine Flu sometimes cause viral pneumonia deep within the lungs and that is the main thing that makes it so dangerous.  So, anyone with a pre-existing respiratory  condition, and perhaps even heavy smokers should be particularly concerned about H1N1.

However, there are steps you can take to protect your family and to know when to seek medical care.

The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to the symptoms of regular flu. They include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Chills and fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Occasionally, vomiting and diarrhea

H1N1 Symptoms In Children

Young children with Swine Flu may have difficulty breathing and low activity, but few other symptoms. There is little is known about how H1N1 may affect children. However, the infection may be similar to other flu infections. Typically, common seasonal flu infections cause mild cases in children, however parents should always pay special attention to children under 5 years of age, because they are more likely to become seriously ill than older children. Rarely, severe respiratory illness (pneumonia) and deaths occur with flu infections in children, and obviously flu infections tend to be more severe in children with chronic medical conditions.

If your child is under five years of age or has a serious pre-existing condition pay extra attention to the possibility of H1N1.

Prevention

H1N1, like all flu viruses, spreads from person to person mainly through the coughing or sneezing of a sick person. H1N1 may also spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with the virus and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Generally, it is believed that H1N1 spreads the same way as other flu viruses. Right now, there is no vaccine available to protect against H1N1, but everyday actions can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like Swine Flu:

  • Be sure your children wash their hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. Teach them by setting a good example, but also because you can infect your children through unsanitary practices.
  • Children should be taught to cough and sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of their elbow, and you should set the example for them.
    Teach your children to stay away from people who are sick.
  • Sick children should stay home from school and daycare and until they are better
  • If you live in a community where H1N1 has occurred, stay away from shopping malls, movie theaters, or other places where there are large groups of people.

Treating Swine Flu In Children

Keep sick children with Swine Flu at home unless they must go out for medical attention. Do not send them to school or daycare.
 This is critical to keep the H1N1 virus from infecting other children.

Be sure that they drink plenty of liquids, because dehydration is a major concern with the flu.
  Rest and comfort are important for sick children.

Use fever‐reducing medicines that your doctor recommends based on your child’s age. However, DO NOT use aspirin with children or teenagers; it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a life‐threatening illness.

Keep sick members of you family away from those that are not sick. In fact, if it is possible it is not a bad idea to have any other uninfected children stay with friends or relatives for the duration of their brother or sisters illness. It is stressful enough to take care of one child ill with Swine Flu, but taking care of several is simply overwhelming.

Be sure that the sick person has tissues available for coughing and sneezing and have a trash bag within reach for disposing used tissues.

If your child does come into contact with someone with H1N1, ask your doctor if he or she should receive antiviral medicines to prevent getting sick from H1N1.

If your child, particularly small children, exhibits any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care:

  • Trouble breathing, including rapid breathing.
  • Gray or bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being irritable and not wanting to be held
  • Not urinating or no tears when crying
  • The symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Always pay particular attention to respiratory problems, particularly if they are accompanied with any of the flu like symptoms listed above, and when in doubt seek ALWAYS seek the advice of a medical professional.  This situation is too important for guess work.

This blog has made every effort to be accurate and up to date, but for the latest news about new check out our H1N1
News
page.

Also, the best source of detailed information on the web on any disease is at the CDC. They have a ton of information, but it is not the most readable site for the average person. In fact we created this site mostly to put the main points from over there in plain language.

Finally, nothing on this site should be construed as medical advice. DON’T TAKE A CHANCE WITH YOUR CHILD! IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR CHILD MIGHT HAVE H1N1 CALL YOUR DOCTOR.

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{ 2 comments }

deepa August 24, 2009 at 10:13 am

H1N1, like all flu viruses, spreads from person to person mainly through the coughing or sneezing of a sick person. H1N1 may also spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with the virus and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Generally, it is believed that H1N1 spreads the same way as other flu viruses. Right now

carrieanne borlek August 31, 2009 at 1:30 am

I have 3 very small children. 5, 3, and 2. I am very afraid of what i have been hearing about this virus h1n1. They talk about in the fall that there will be a huge outbreak. My children put their hands in their mouth constantly… and i hate to admit..so do i. would I be completely crazy to pull my 5yr old out of kindergarden for a little while until the fall season is over and we can observe to see what happens. I always say to better to be safe than sorry. would I really be unreasonable for doing this? is this swine flu as bad as everyone is saying … or is this just another ordinary flu? is the ordinary flu that everyone is used to almost as dangerous.. ? and to whom? only children and sickly and elderly.? Does that mean that I should stay away from our church .. which has large numbers of members.?
I am very afraid for my children and my family. I am a young mother. i am 28 and my husband 30. Also.. my husband will be a CNA in 5 wks. does this mean that he will be completely exposed and even more likely to get it, and then give it to our family?
Please, give me any information that you can!!!! It is okay with me if you post my questions.. because i am almost positive that i am not the only mother worried about her children and school.
Please help
*mother in a panic*

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