Part 5 of 5
This is the fifth part of a five-part series on preparing for a potentially tough flu season.
What are flu symptoms?
The swine flu, H1N1, is a contagious respiratory disease, caused by an influenza virus affecting pigs and contains genetic material of bird and pig versions of the flu. Symptoms include a fever of more than 100 degrees. Coughing, runny nose, and/or a sore throat, joint aches and headache, chills, fatigue, lack of appetite, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Who might get the flu?
Just about anyone. You might get the flu if you decide not to get the vaccine, because of potential side effects, or just because there isn’t enough to vaccinate everyone. You can get the flu, even if you have had the vaccine.
Oh no…got the flu? Payton hopes to avoid it.
Yesterday, my husband was talking to Dr. Maurice Ramerez, founding chairperson of American Board of Disaster Medicine. Dr. Ramerez said the H1N1 swine flu has already mutated, so the vaccine won’t be as effective as they hoped. Furthermore, it won’t be ready to distribute until mid-October. You might get the flu even if you’ve done all that you can to build a strong immune system, although it will be less likely.
What do you do if you still get sick?
It’s vital to keep the sick person hydrated and isolated. Don’t send a child with a temperature or runny nose or a headache to daycare or school. Don’t go to work or to the store if you are ill. It’s best to keep a distance of about six feet from others who are well. Adults remain infectious for about a week, kids a little longer up to ten days. If you child becomes sick, can you take time off work or telecommute? How is your child’s school going to handle kids who get sick during school hours?
The best place to care for a sick child is at home. If you are worried about your child, call your pediatrician’s office. Don’t take your child in to the doctor’s without first calling. If you have an infant, under three months, call the doctor if a temperature of 100 or more persists or if your baby doesn’t’ pass urine for more than 6 hours.
Usually, you’ll need emergency help if you notice any of the following symptoms in children:
>Rapid breathing or trouble breathing
>Bluish or gray skin color (a sign that they’re not getting enough oxygen)
>Dehydration or refusal to drink (keep your child well hydrated)
>Inability to wake up or interact with you
>Extreme irritability or not wanting to be held
>Symptoms which improve, but return with a fever and a worsened cough
Prevent spreading the flu
>Keeping the sick person away from other people as much as possible.
>Remind the sick person to cover their coughs, often clean their hands with soap, and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
>Have everyone in your home often clean their hands, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
>When holding a small child who is sick, place their chin on your shoulder so they will not cough in your face.
>Daily clean the surfaces, especially bedsides, bathrooms, toys, and in the sick room with a disinfectant.
>Avoid hugging dirty linens and towels before washing them. Clean your hands after handling dirty laundry.
>Because you might become ill from your exposure, and can infect other people before you have any symptoms, wear a mask when you have to leave the home, to prevent further spread to others.
Sooth and shorten the flu
Children should not be given aspirin and aspirin-containing products and children under six should not be given cough and cold medicines with alcohol. I went to my nearby nutrition store yesterday to stock up on homeopathic medicine, just in case. It a good idea to do the same, because once an outbreak occurs in your area, flu relief items will fly off the shelf. Of course, the usual support such as vitamin C, garlic tabs, and probiotics will help strengthen a weakened immune system.
I found a couple of products which may be given to children over the age of two. As always, consult your physician:
>Bronchial Soothe, Ivy Leaf Syrup by Enzmatic an alcohol free non-drowsy formula for respiratory support.
>Oscillococcinum by Boiron for flu symptoms.
>If you’re pregnant it gets more challenging. I found Now AlliBiotic an herbal immune support which may be taken with Now Super Colostrum.