Asheville, NC (PRWEB) May 12, 2009
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that 21 countries have reported 1085 cases of "swine flu" and that the US had 268 cases in 36 of the nation's states. WHO and US President Barack Obama urged vigilance and said that the key is to be prepared to address any outcome.
"Swine flu" (Type A influenza - H1N1) is a strain of Type A influenza that is usually spread from human to human. This new outbreak of "swine flu" is transmitted from one person to another by coughing, sneezing or by touch. Ordinarily, the very young (especially children under five) and the very old are most susceptible to influenza but this virus seems to be prevalent in all ages.
Leading U.S. pediatrician Dr Olson Huff of Sixty Second Parent said that parents should follow four simple tips to help prevention, especially for young children and babies.
"By adhering to sensible precautions and following medical advice, it's likely your child will avoid this outbreak or not be severely affected by it," Dr. Huff said.
1. Keep your family away from people who have flu symptoms.
2. Teach your child not to cough or sneeze into hands. Cover sneezes and coughs with sleeve, elbow or preferably tissues. Discard tissues immediately after use. If your child is sick have the tissues nearby, along with a trash bag.
3. Keep children home from school and daycare.
4. Careful and frequent hand washing - teach your children to wash with soap and water for
20 seconds. Keep antibacterial wipes or gel on hand for times when you do not have access to soap and water.
Dr Huff suggests a practical tip to encourage children to wash their hands thoroughly and to make hand washing fun for children is the use of song and games. Click here for other practical tips on child health and development.
"Songs that last around 20 seconds are optimal hand washing time such as 'Happy Birthday to You', 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and 'If You're Happy and You Know it Wash Your Hands' to encourage toddlers play games like Round and Round the Garden using soap," Dr Huff said.
A person may spread this virus to others as long as symptoms are present. The severity of the illness varies from very mild to those who become quite ill. Death can occur.
Symptoms are what one ordinarily would expect, including fever, cough, sore throat, aching, headache, chills and possibly a rash.
Dr Huff said that treatment is available, although the vaccine to prevent this strain of virus has not yet been developed but is to be made available as soon as possible.
"Medications called anti-viral drugs are available and can be quite effective. They are available by prescription only so at the first sign of any of the symptoms mentioned, medical help should be sought."
Dr Huff recommends that parents should encourage a sick child to rest, give fluids and keep the tissues handy. To treat pain and fever use medications recommended by your doctor - do not give children aspirin.
"Remember, use sensible precautions, wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, try to avoid sick persons and don't alarm children or others by being too fearful. Follow medical advice and the likelihood is that you and your children will avoid this outbreak or not be severely afflicted by it," Dr Huff said.