School is already in session or soon will be for many communities throughout the country. Unfortunately, the Swine Flu is still going around communities and health care experts predict that its predicted resurgence this fall could affect school students. What should parents do to prepare for a H1N1 outbreak at their child’s school? Parents should prepare themselves now for the possibility of an outbreak situation at their child’s school by brushing up on this back to school checklist for Swine Flu.
Back to School Swine Flu Checklist: Have a plan in case of illness/school closure
Last spring saw many school closures, particularly in New York. Don’t get taken by a surprise school closure due; instead, make a plan now. Children exhibiting Swine Flu symptoms will be sent home, so make sure your child’s emergency contact list is up to date. Avoid listing at-risk friends and family members on your child’s emergency contact list. While your sister may be able to pick your child up in case of illness, if she is pregnant, it is best for her and her unborn baby to avoid those who exhibit H1N1 symptoms.
Don’t wait until illness strikes to have a work from home plan. If Swine Flu closes your child’s school or if your child contracts the virus, have a work from home plan already in action. For those parents with limited sick days, it may be a good idea to try to save some vacation days to help assure that any lost work days won’t cause financial hardship. Speaking to your boss now about a contingency plan in case of school closure or child’s illness will mean less work disruption for both you and your company.
Back to School Swine Flu Checklist: Stay aware of H1N1 outbreaks in your community
Stay on top of H1N1 news in your community. Knowing where and who to avoid can help keep your family Swine Flu free this flu season. Make use of hand sanitizers and/or grocery cart sanitizers. A person with the flu may have just used that cart to buy their influenza fighting supplies. The WSJ reported last year that grocery carts were germier than public restrooms. Some stores do more than others to cut down on the germ factor, so be prepared to sanitize a cart yourself if need be. Not everyone who is sick with the Swine flu or any other influenza will stay home. Monitoring outbreaks in your community will help cut down on possible exposure.
Back to School Swine Flu Checklist: Consider immunization when available
In late July, MSNBC reported that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices set vaccination priorities. The Committee recommends that health care workers, pregnant women, and individuals aged six months old through age 24 should all be at the head of the vaccination line. It was also recommended that parents and caregivers of infants should be vaccinated, as well as adults who are not elderly, but may be at high risk for complications should they contract the influenza. At present, human trials on an H1N1 vaccine have begun, according to NPR. An H1N1 vaccine may be available as early as mid-October. Parents should bear in mind that the H1N1 vaccine is just for the Swine Flu; a seasonal influenza shot is also recommended.
Recommended resources for parents
For Twittering parents, follow CDCemergency for periodic Swine Flu updates, including links to maps showing severity of outbreaks across the nation. Learn how Swine Flu/H1N1 symptoms differ from those of the common cold and seasonal influenza by visiting WebMD or take an influenza refresher course by reviewing information at flu.gov.
Resources for parents: