With fall in the air and the nation preparing to face cold and flu season, families have turned their attention away from the seasonal flu and instead have focused on swine flu. The H1N1 Virus, commonly referred to as swine flu, poses unique risks to families, especially those with young children, the elderly, and pregnant women. If your family falls into these categories, you’d be wise to take the time to research government swine flu recommendations and those made by the CDC in order to best protect your family.
The most important thing you can know about and do when it comes to swine flu is to prevent it. Both the CDC and Flu.gov recommend frequent handwashing, avoiding touching your mouth, eyes, and nose, and covering your mouth when you do cough or sneeze. In addition, one of the most important recommendations they make is that if you are ill, or someone in your household is suffering from swine flu symptoms, you should stay home in order to prevent the potential spread of the H1N1 Virus.
Stay abreast of H1N1 pandemic news.
It’s important for families to stay informed about the H1N1 virus, pandemic, and localized outbreaks. Listening to the local news, reading national news, and following the CDC and Flu.gov websites can also be helpful. If your children are school age, you may hear from the local school system concerning their own swine flu policies and practices. Keep this information handy should you need it.
Keep in contact with pediatricians and primary care physicians.
A swine flu vaccine is currently in the works, and is preparing to be released to high-risk groups in the fall. This is especially important information for families with young children, the elderly, and pregnant women, as these groups are at a higher risk of H1N1 complications. Keep in touch with your health care providers in order to ascertain when they’ll have the vaccine on hand, if you are at high risk, and what their recommendations are.
Educate, but avoid scare tactics.
There are a great many resources available about the swine flu pandemic that are suitable for parents and educators. Designed to educate, but not to scare, these materials are a great starting point for discussions with your children concerning general health, cleanliness, germs, and seasonal illnesses. ESL Themes, for example, provides a large selection of swine flu related activities, worksheets, and materials that would be appropriate for a wide range of students, ages, and classrooms. Select a few that might be a good fit for your child’s questions/concerns, and use them as a starting point.
With swine flu pandemic preparations underway and families concerned about the risks of H1N1 infection, prevention, knowledge, contact with informed parties, and education are key.
CDc; 2009 H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu); http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1FLU/
ESL Themes; Swine Flu Teaching Ideas; http://eslthemes.com/themes/08_swineflu/index_swineflu.htm