What to Do if Your Child Has the Swine Flu
Millions of Americans have had H1N1, so it is important to know what to do if your child has the swine flu. H1N1 is no laughing matter when it comes to kids. According to the CDC, approximately 1,090 children have died from the swine flu so far.
So why is the swine flu so dangerous to kids? Simply put, they have no immunity to this strain of the flu. And kids are kids – meaning they often aren’t great about covering their mouths when they sneeze or cough or washing their hands. So germs spread easily among the younger crowd.
So what do you do if your child has the swine flu?
- Try to prevent your children from getting sick with the flu!
The first line of defense is keeping your kids from getting the swine flu in the first place. Here are some tips:
Teach kids to wash their hands after using the bathroom and if they sneeze or cough into their hands.
Use hand sanitizer often, including after kids have been in public places (yes, school counts) and when they have touched things like grocery carts or playground equipment.
Keep your eyes and ears open – if the swine flu is making a bunch of kids at your school sick, talk to the school and your pediatrician about a course of action to help keep your kid from getting the swine flu too.
2. Keep a close eye on sick children but to remember that not all cases are serious.
Mild illness swine flu symptoms include the following:
Fever of 100 F or higher
Runny, stuffy nose
Diarrhea and vomiting
Younger children, including toddlers, may not be able to tell you their specific symptoms if they have the swine flu. So keep an eye out for unusual behavior or signs that they are getting sick and contact your doctor if you feel concerned that they have the swine flu.
3. Learn how to treat them at home.
Luckily, the swine flu is not dangerous in most cases. If your child has the swine flu and it seems mild, here are some ways to help take care of them at home:
Get them lots of rest.
Make sure they get lots of clear fluids, including soup and liquids, to prevent dehydration. Offer them something to drink every 30 minutes.
Use age-appropriate medications to reduce fever.
Keep them home! Taking them out can infect others and possibly make them feel worse.
4. The swine flu can be dangerous for children. Know the warning signs!
All children younger than 5 years old are at higher risk of flu complications.
The CDC recommends to seek immediate medical help if your child/baby has any of these symptoms below:
Emergency signs of the swine flu in children:
Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish or gray skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Severe or persistent vomiting
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
If your child has any of these symptoms of severe swine flu, head for the ER immediately.
If your child has a compromised immune system due to other conditions, know that they may be affected harder by the swine flu and have greater complications. They can contract other bacterial infections or pneumonia, making the swine flu much more threatening.
5. Learn what to do if your high-risk child has the swine flu.
Here are some other important tips when taking care of your high-risk child when they have the swine flu:
Call your doctor immediately if your child seems to have the swine flu.
Reduce their fever with appropriate medications (ask your doctor if you have questions).
Keep a close eye on your child for the above warning signs and take your child to the ER if you see any of them.
Follow your instincts – if something seems wrong, it probably is. Call your doctor or head for the ER!