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Swine Flu Hits Home: A Game Plan

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Today at football practice we learned that one of the teenage boys that coach my boys’ fifth grade team tested positive for novel H1N1 swine flu. We heard so much about swine flu, but it puts things in a different perspective when the boy passing the football with my son less than 48 hours ago is now in isolation at the hospital.

What does this mean for him, my sons and their teammates?

The first is don’t panic! We’ve heard so much from the media but the reality is this strain of virus is typically mild and will resolve on its own. The seasonal flu still kills 30,000 people a year but most of those are elderly. Novel H1N1 swine flu has killed younger people but only 477 total deaths as of the latest account.

What is swine flu?
Now called novel H1N1, it is a respiratory illness, not a food-borne illness. It is OK to eat cooked pork. Swine flu is a strain of Influenza that is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. In addition, people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the symptoms of H1N1 swine flu?
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include FEVER over 102 degrees, lethargy, lack of appetite, and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Fever and muscle aches differentiate it from seasonal allergies.

How long is it transmittable?
The infectious period for a confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is defined as 1 day prior to the case’s illness onset to seven days after onset.

What should I do now that my son has been exposed?
I spoke with the children’s hospital and according to the CDC they are not testing for H1N1 unless the person is sick enough to require hospitalization.

So who needs hospitalization?
The CDC recommends If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Anon, great tip on germywormy.com!

Deborah, very helpful article....although too late for me and my family. My three kids and I all had the H1N1 Swine Flu back in April and my youngest daughter's elementary school was closed by the CDC for several days, causing my daughter and a handful of other kids to be placed in isolation room in a YMCA for a couple of very long hours. It was a nightmare for a group of 7-year-olds to be isolated like that and not understand what was going on. In any case, I do hope that your son's team doesn't get into a panic about it.

Really, it's simply a flu virus, and after having had it, I can say that it wasn't even half as bad as some other flu viruses that I've had in past years. I've been trying to spread the word that it's not worth much of the panic that we hear in the media. Yes, it's good to be informed and to be cognizant of how best not to spread germs, but as it's mentioned in this article, it's important for adults and kids not to blow the Swine Flu out of proportion.

August 18, 2009 - 9:33pm
EmpowHER Guest

Great article. I have a tip that helps kids learn the above recommendations, including coughing into the elbow (recommended by the CDC). Its called Germy Wormy Germ Smart. The program teaches kids to understand how germs spread and how to NOT spread them. My daughter learned it at pre-school. It was so much fun for her, and amazing how quickly the kids learned healthier hygiene habits! The website speaks for itself: www.germywormy.com

August 18, 2009 - 9:03pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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