Quick Tips

Keeping Children Safe from Flu

Nobody can give parents a fool-proof plan or a 100% guarantee that their child will not contract flu. This fact shouldn’t be either a novel or an alarming concept for any parent. Parents do not possess the power to protect children from all of life’s dangers. Yet loving parents desperately wish for that magical power, so here are few tips on keeping children safe from flu.

In reality, however, parents can do only their best, with love, and keeping the welfare of their child in mind. To help keep your child safe from swine flu, parents must not deviate from that motto. This won’t give a guarantee but it will give a child the best possible chance.

1. Simple Is Best – Excellent Personal Hygiene

Health officials maintain that exemplary personal hygiene is the best defence against swine flu. The close interaction between school children means that proper hygiene must be the top priority in that setting. Most parents have already discussed these healthy practices with their children. With swine flu on the radar, the present is the perfect time to put extra emphasis on cleanliness.

Thorough hand washing, not coughing in the direction of others, not sneezing into your hands – all are simple methods of disease prevention. Indeed, the recommended practice of sneezing into the crook of your elbow (if necessary) is referred to as the “Dracula” sneeze. Having such a mysterious name, the “Dracula” sneeze should be easy to encourage among the younger set.

2. Everyone Has To Do Their Part

It is difficult for younger children to always remember health and safety rules. Yet children will respond favourably more often if parents make it fun. Cartoon characters, who show how to do a complete and thorough hand washing, can make the difference. These funny friends can change boring hand washing into a fun routine.

Yet children can’t be expected to fight this on their own. Parents also need to be extra vigilant about disinfecting the most common sources of infection such as door knobs, countertops, telephones, and toys. Every swine flu germ isn’t contained in a classroom. When families go out into the big wide world, they can sometimes bring a nasty germ back into their own private world.

3. Stay Informed

Staying informed will provide parents with the necessary tools to help keep their child safe from swine flu. For families with school age children, the local school will serve as an excellent source of information. Schools are organising awareness and prevention programs as well as possible courses of action in the event of an outbreak.

School officials will be sending out brochures as well as informing parents about their policies. Certain schools are bringing in hand sanitisers and even sanitisation machines. South Korean school officials plan to take children’s temperature on a daily basis. Whatever country you live in, every parent needs to be aware of their local school’s plans in the case of every possible scenario.

4. Take Action

Within the USA and Canada, a vaccination program for the H1N1 virus will be available in coming months. Since the age group 6 months – 17 years is at high risk for this virus, parents will be encouraged to have their children get the vaccine. There is speculation at this point that the vaccination will be a voluntary program.

Every parent has a responsibility to learn about the vaccine and the vaccination process. Parents must study the information, take advantage of  medical expertise, and familiarise themselves with the details. If the vaccinations come on scene as a voluntary program, then parents will be asked to sign for their child to receive them. Education and awareness will play a major factor in stopping the H1N1 virus.

5. Know When

If a child gets sick, know when to seek medical attention. In the case of an ill child, it is always best to err on the side of caution. The swine flu, however, presents symptoms similar to an ordinary flu. Parents need to be alert to the changes in the progression and intensity of an illness. If swine flu is present, a child needs to get proper treatment in a prompt manner.

Swine flu can exhibit itself through fever, cough, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose. Body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue are common complaints. Many patients have experienced diarrhoea and vomiting. If a child has difficulty breathing, has bluish skin, or is extremely sluggish, then it’s time to seek medical attention. If a fever disappears and then reappears in a day or so, then a doctor’s visit is a good idea.

6. Don’t Panic

It is natural for parents to experience panic when they perceive a threat to their child. With prevention as their priority, however, parents should be better able to handle the stress. If a parent does experience a moment of concern, don’t show your emotions to a young child.

A young child can interpret words and actions in a totally different manner than adults. A parent’s moderate concern could be perceived by a child as full-blown panic. With attention to cleanliness and the coming vaccine, few children may pick up swine flu. Yet many will experience sleepless nights and worried days if they become overwhelmed by the situation.

Keeping a child safe refers to a child’s whole well-being – physical and mental. Swine flu may soon be just a bad memory. Childhood memories shouldn’t include worries about viruses and disease. In responding to the  H1N1 virus, parents should encourage healthy practices, prioritise prevention, take precautions, do their part – but don’t panic!