Friday, September 11, 2009

Children 14-times more likely to get swine flu

This blog post is from the Updates in Michigan Family Law Blog of Traverse City Attorney, Jeanne Hannah:

Of camps and day care:
Kids 14 times more likely to get swine flu

"Mom, can I have a sip of your water?" This is a pretty easy question when you're talking to your young child, right?

WRONG! Brigid Schulte, Washington Post Staff Writer wrote on Saturday, September 5, 2009 about how insidious the swine flu is, how susceptible to exposure and potential infection our children are . . . and how we have to worry about such simple things as . . . it's a hot day, your child is thirsty and wants a sip of your water. We tend to think of our young children as sharing the same germs we all share at our house.

But, when you have summer camp, computer camp, day care, school, etc. all in the mix . . . bottom line? We don't know whose germs might be spread when we share a simple glass of water with anyone, even our loved ones.

Read Brigid Schulte's article "How, Gulp!, You Get Sick During the Swine Flu Season, Think Before You Share a Drink With Someone" on the Washington Post site.

An Article in the Wall Street Journal published on August 27th, byline Shirley S. Wang, says that "[o]ne of the unusual things about the swine flu is that it often strikes young, healthy people, while skipping over the elderly." According to the WSJ, kids and young adults are 14 times more likely to get swine flu. See the WSJ Blog article here: Study: Kids 14 Times More Likely than Elderly to Get Swine Flu.

This news is just in from the September 5th New York Times: Over 2,000 students at the University of Washington have reported symptoms of swine flu. Classes have not even started yet! They are planning to distribute antibacterial hand sanitizer where large crowds congregate such as football games.

See a CDC report released on August 28th here. The CDC confirms that children and young adults are at a disproportionate risk for infection and hospitalization and that it is appropriate to direct appropriate prevention strategies at this population. See also the CDC’s recommendations about H1N1 flu vaccinations. in the CDC report linked above.

The Michigan statistics on H1N! flu are pretty compelling. Check out those numbers for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy

According to the CDC, the following are ways in which you and your family can avoiding catching swine flu. First, stay informed. The CDC website will be updated regularly as information becomes available.
Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
Take everyday actions to stay healthy.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures
Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
More from the CDC H1N1 Update: CDC Issues Guidance for Early Childhood Programs

The CDC has issued guidance to help reduce the spread and severity of influenza among children in early childhood programs and their providers.

Based on the severity of 2009 H1N1 influenza so far, recommendations include:

Children and staff in target vaccination groups should be immunized.
Those with flu-like illness should stay home until they've been without fever for 24 hours (without using fever-reducing medications).
Child care providers should check staff members' and children's health daily, and separate ill individuals from others until they can be sent home.
Treatment within 48 hours of illness onset should be encouraged for those at high risk for flu complications.
If influenza severity increases, additional strategies include:

Children with ill household members and high-risk staff should be allowed to stay home.
People with flu-like illness should remain at home for at least 7 days after symptom onset.
Program closures should be considered.
CDC guidance document (Free)

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