How to be prepared for Swine Flu
We know that many are concerned about Swine flu (H1N1 flu), so we were able to get some helpful hints from a friend who is an internal medicine and infectious diseases specialist. Here is what he had to say:
Well, with everyone back in school, and with this year posing the additional potential challenge of the H1N1 flu, I thought a couple of items of information might be useful in the spirit of PNP, “Preparedness NOT Panic.”
The big problem with influenza is that certain groups of people have increased risk of complications from it which can be serious, namely, pneumonia or dehydration (primarily in children). The groups that have the highest risk are: pregnant women, children less that 5, particularly less than 2, and children or adults with certain chronic diseases.
With school children being a huge potential source of transmission of flu, kids in school or pre-school can bring home the flu, exposing those at home.
Since school kids are going to get colds, ear infections, stomach flu and other common things in the course of the year, most infections they have will not be flu. But this year schools and parents will have to be smart and be prepared.
Here’s what I think each family needs:
A good thermometer – flu presents as a fever (anything over 100.0!), headache, muscle aches, respiratory symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, coughing) and possibly nausea/vomiting and/or diarrhea. Anyone, particularly kids, having these symptoms and a fever should stay home.
A supply of acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen for fever in children. Fever is not a threat to adults. Remember, any medication that contains aspirin is CONTRAINDICATED for children during the flu season. Check all cold/cough medicine to be sure it doesn’t contain aspirin.
A supply of Gatorade or Pedialyte (will any kid drink this stuff?). Be sure fluid intake is adequate.
Call your pharmacist and find out if he/she feels there will be any shortage of the medication Tamiflu (oseltamivir) which comes in liquid and pill forms. This drug is recommended for prevention in all ages except in those less than 3 months. If there is flu in your area, and if anyone brings to your home an illness consistent with the flu, those at high risk should immediately begin taking the medication and continue for 10 days from the last exposure. You might consider having some at home before hand. It’s not cheap. Contact your doctor to see if he/she will write a prescription for you.
Teach children how to cough or sneeze into tissue or their arm. They must learn to cover their mouth! They should also know to politely keep away from those who are sneezing or coughing or are ill.
When to call a doctor: Most persons getting the flu do not need to go to the doctor. If you or your child is not doing well (fever remains high despite medication, not eating well or keeping adequate fluids down, and certainly if there appears to be any problem breathing), call your doctor.
Be sure to get the vaccine according to the distribution guidelines when it becomes available. The vaccine will be given according to supply and priority, with the initial doses going topregnant women,everyone (above the age of 6 months) in homes having an infant less than 6 months of age. Infants less than 6 months will not be given the vaccine; then children 6 months to 4 years of age; then those 5-18 years old with chronic health conditions. Eventually everyone will likely be offered vaccination.
There are two websites which are worth reviewing:
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/talkingtokids.htm (Excellent. Must read)
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm (A bit detailed, but still excellent background)
“…An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
10 ways to keep your body boosted and your immune system ready to fight infection
1. GET PLENTY OF REST – at least 8 hours.
2. EAT IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS – Vitamin rich fruits, whole grains, and colorful vegetables. Fatty foods slow your metabolism. Avoid alcohol – it can decrease your resistance to viral infection.
3. TAKE YOUR DAILY SUPPLEMENTS – Beta C, anti-oxidants like CoQ10, the B Complex, AMs multiple vitamins for vitality during the day, PMs for your trace minerals to rebuild the skeletal matrix while you sleep, AG IMMUNE for building your immune system.
4. WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY in hot soapy water for at least 15 seconds to the song “Happy Birthday to Me” 2 times.
5. KEEP HYDRATED– drink 8 –10 glasses 8 oz of water daily.
6. KEEP PHYSICALLY ACTIVE – mild to moderate exercise like walking 30 – 40 minutes daily supports the immune system by increasing circulation, oxygenating the body, purging toxins and releasing tension and stress.
7. AVOID CONTACT WITH SICK PEOPLE.
8. TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO SNEEZE – cough or sneeze into a tissue or into their arm.
9. BE VIGILANT OF SURFACES – Be aware of public surfaces you touch and borrowing pens. Wash your hands before you touch your face.
10. KNOW WHEN TO GET HELP.
KEEP IN PERSPECTIVE – Stress releases hormones in our bodies that
can compromise our immune system.