Here Comes the Swine Flu
School starts tomorrow. Kids all over the state, who haven't seen each other since last spring, will be together on playgrounds and in classrooms this week. And the H1N1 virus is ready to spread. Students in colleges all over the country have been coming down with the swine flu in the past month—from 26 cases reported at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh after the first few days of class, to at least 2000 reported cases in Pullman at Washington State last week. Parents should be ready to keep this virus from spreading. Again, that means:
· Arming your children with hand sanitizers, and encouraging them to wash their hands often
· Equipping your children with tissues, and encouraging them to cover their noses and mouths whenever they cough
· Encouraging your children to come home from school as soon as they feel don't feel well
· Using prescription antivirals as soon as flu symptoms—fever, aches, cough, sore throat and runny nose—appear
· Getting your children vaccinated as soon as possible: the vaccine should be available in our offices sometime this fall
Effects of this flu are apparently no more severe than effects of other flus have been; but, because H1N1 is a new virus, it's more likely to spread. And children—whose immune systems are less likely to have been exposed to a similar flu virus—are most likely to come down with symptoms. Let's do all we can to keep them healthy!