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Swine Flu and Kids

I had a whole other post planned for today. A happier post. One about which romance novel writers I recommended (of course, I've been planning that post since a few people asked me for it a few weeks ago, but I really was/am going to do it!). I will do that post tomorrow. This morning, I read an article and I have to talk about. I know I never talk politics or even discuss current events in the news, but today I feel compeled.

The story I read was about the first US death attributed to the swine flu. The death was of a 23-month-old toddler in Texas. As with all strains of the flu, the populations who should be most careful are the elderly, people with chronic conditions that affect their immune systems or heart, the very young and the pregnant women, for various reasons.

I don't believe in panicking over things, and this is included, but I do believe in being careful and prepared. Because I am a pregnant woman and have a toddler, I feel that my family should be extra careful and really prepared for this swine flu outbreak. We all know that kids are like little petri dishes and spread germs at a rapid pace to each other. They do not have as strong immune systems as adults, therefore are more susceptible to illnesses. Kids touch everything and then touch their faces, mouths, eyes, etc. Kids don't cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze (we are currently working on this with the Pumpkin, who has had a bit of a cold, and she's learning but not perfect). They also don't wash their hands as often as they should.

There are good germs as well as bad, and it is healthy to be exposed to all sorts of germs in order to build up a good immune system. But right now, with a strain of flu that includes avian and swine flu for which humans do not have adequate resistence, I think erring on the side of caution is the way to go. This means constantly washing everyone's hands, covering coughs and sneezes with tissues and shirt sleeves (and hands if you wash right after), and not being around people who could be coming down with any form of the flu. This means watching our toddlers and kids (and elderly and even pregnant women) to make sure that they are being careful and to take them to the doctor at the first sign of any flu-like symptoms.

This does not mean panic or stop your day-to-day activities, although it's probably wise to be more careful at the playground and if you in an area with reported cases maybe even avoid the playground or swimming pools. But it means pay attention to yourself and others.

Hopefully, all the pandemic flu planning our governement and other governments have done will pay off and in a few months we will all be thinking "what was everyone so worried about? It wasn't that big a deal!" But in order to get to that point, I believe that we should all be taking it seriously right now. Let's all help to make sure that the death toll in the US stays low, especially for the children.

For more information, see:
-The CDC's information on the swine flu
-The government's pandemic flu website
-The FDA's information on swine flu

Comments

Becoming Mommy said…
I just hope we don't get it.
Sasha was already hospitalized when the stomach flu went around and now he has asthma symptoms. Poor kid doesn't seem to have any resistance to anything.
limboland la la said…
yeah, this thing makes me paranoid too. it doesn't help that my favorite book was "The Plague." Used to have all these visions of little rats and fleas. Now it's the swine. dammit.
I'm Not Skippy said…
According to the CDC 13,000 people, since January, died in the US because of the regular flu. Worldwide that number is between 250,000-500,000. 90% of those deaths were people over 65.

Swine flu has killed one in the US and about 160 worldwide in a week. . . 0.013% of the regular human only flu.

Not to say it couldn't become a pandemic, just something to think about.
caramama said…
@I'm Not Skippy - Absolutely. In fact, the flu kills about 36,000 people a year, and those are just human strains. The biggest concerns I have about the swine flu (as I did with the avian flu) is that it is stems from animals (not a purely human strain of flu) and therefore humans do not have immunity built up to protect against it. It can be seriously harmful to healthy adults ages 20-40, not just the very old and very young as most flu strains are. (This is similar to the 1918 epidemic.) It seems to me that that is why it has the potential to be a true pandemic and something to be cautious about. Not panicked about, but cautious.

Either way, I try not to get any flus if I can help it. They really suck.
BisBink said…
Guess we won't be hitting the swimming pool on Sundays afterall.
I'm Not Skippy said…
I just watched the presidential press conference and loved that Obama advised "washing your hand, covering your mouth when you cough, and if you feel sick see a doctor and don't go to work or school."

Love it.

So you work in DC in some computer related thing. . . do you work for Health and Human Services?
caramama said…
@I'm Not Skippy - Well, common sense hygiene to you and me is apparently not common to other people, I guess! HHS? Uh, something like that. Why don't you have an email hooked to your blogging profile so I can just email you responses to some of your comments, huh? I don't always want to write it out here on the blog.
Cloud said…
I'm in a similar situation as you are (pregnant with a little live in germ-transfer agent aka toddler). I'm also asthmatic, so respiratory illnesses are something I always try to avoid.

My response is similar, too. I'm watching and not worrying too much yet, even though I live in a county with 8 confirmed cases (San Diego).

I actually find it comforting to know that none of our cases had been to Mexico. That means they got it from someone else here, which means that this disease has probably been in my community for a while, but since it is not presenting as anything particularly severe here, it had not been noticed.

None of our first 5 cases even needed hospitalization. I don't know about the 3 latest confirmed, but I don't think they ended up at the hospital, either. I have no idea why this flu has been affecting people in Mexico so much more severely than it has been affecting people here. The toddler who died in Texas was from Mexico, and has been reported as either being in Texas on a visit to relatives or having been brought to Texas for treatment- regardless, my heart goes out to the family. They are truly living one of my worst nightmares.
I'm Not Skippy said…
For a limited time I have made it available.
Shellie said…
Oh thank you for the references, I'm going to see if they give the more pertinent info the media doesn't. Personally, I am taking this opportunity to scare my kids into learning better hygiene. :) I agree, this probably won't turn into much at all, but like any bug going around, it's better to practice good hygiene and enjoy life!

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