The sound that is striking terror into the minds of parents across the globe these days is the cough. That simple sound brings to mind images of the post World War I flu pandemic that took more casualties than the Great War itself. On June 12 th, the World Health Association officially declared the current situation with the H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) a pandemic. But really, although it can be a serious condition, today’s outbreak can in no way compare to the pandemic of the past. Our knowledge of the spread of disease and basic hygiene makes our circumstances significantly less tragic than the past.
Although less tragic, the current situation calls for the implementation of preventative measures. The CDC has issued these recommendations to help prevent infection:
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 hand cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
The only way to confirm H1N1 is to be tested for the virus. Symptoms of the virus include fever, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, etc. Nasal symptoms usually indicate a cold, especially when presented without a fever.
When should I seek medical attention?
If your child is younger than 3 months and is experiencing a fever, you should seek medical advice, regardless of other symptoms. If you or your child have a chronic condition that weakens your immune system, you should also seek medical care if you experience flu-like symptoms.
For normally healthy children and adults, you should treat at home (giving Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen for pain, NOT Aspirin). Seek medical care if you or your child are lethargic, irritable, experience rapid breathing, or vomiting. These could be signs of complications. (Source: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/may09swinefluqanda.htm )