It was one heck of a flu season with the H1N1 here at my house for much of November. The only one who escaped the misery was my husband, which I suppose is good for him, as there needs to be one healthy individual in every household. In our immediate circle of friends and family many were impacted this year severely. My brother and his family all got the bug. They live in Toronto and have a one-year-old. My brother’s flu bug evolved into bronchitis while the rest of his family quickly got better. My daughters and I also got the human version of the swine flu. And while I raced out to get my vaccination as soon as it was available, I was already infected as a result of being primary caregiver of two little girls who had fallen ill. Like 15 % of the infected population mine evolved into penumonia. My doctor told me the normal rate of pneumonia is about one per cent, so clearly this strain of virus leads to complications in a much higher percentage of people. A child at my daughter’s school was hospitalized for one week and another father I know from the same school also got pneumonia. And then there are the high profile cases and the terrible tragic deaths we all read about. As a result of our miserable time of it I have learned more than a few things about the virus itself, transmission of the virus and pointers on how to care for those who are ill. So when Mom Central Canada came asking for bloggers I felt compelled to help other Moms protect their children from the flu.
1. Wear masks. (While many Moms know it’s unlikely that children will wear the mask, you can still wear one yourself. And luckily there are other pointers too.)
2. Keep your distance from those who are ill. If at all possible designate one person as primary caregiver for the ill individual.
3. Wash hands more than usual and especially after contact with infected person.
4. Sanitize common surfaces frequently. Door knobs should be cleaned often as should bathrooms.
5. Cover your coughs and sneezes (of all the tips this flu season I believe this is one that will follow us throughout the years as schools have been really active in promoting the cough into your elbow strategy.)
6. Stockpile supplies that are helpful in fighting flu. Soaps, soups, fluids, hand sanitizers and enough food to manage for a couple of weeks.
7. Be informed. Read as much as you can about the virus. There are several helpful web sites including the Ontario Ministry of Health’s site at www.ontario.ca/flu. Alos the Public Health Agency of Canada web site is useful as well. Click http://www.publichealth.gc.ca/.
8. Keep sick person’s stuff away from others, if at all possible. Wash stuffed animals and blankets. Give the sick child or person their own towels to be washed often while ill.
9. Give lots of fluids and something to reduce fever while fever is present. Tylenol/ Motrin is safe for children. Never give a child Aspirin when they have a fever.
10. Use cough medicine if necessary, but never administer to a child under six years old.
11. A few other excellent tips I picked up include: don’t take public transport while ill or during an outbreak if you can avoid this at all as you are more likely to spread germs.
12. If your child is infected with H1N1 it can take upto one full week for them to no longer be contagious. Do not rush them back to day care or school. A sick child belongs at home.
13. Monitor yourself and your family for changes. If the fever returns or if vomiting and nausea are severe – if chest pain occurs then you need to seek medical help.
14. A sick person should drop their own Kleenexes in the garbage whenever possible. Lining a garbage with a plastic bag or buying a garbage with a foot pedal means you do not have to touch the dirty contents and lessens contact with germs.
To discover when and where a vaccination clinic occurs near you visit the web site: www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ccom/flu/h1n1/public.clinics.aspx
I was asked to blog about this for Mom Central Canada and received a Mom Central gift pack to thank me for taking the time to participate. Visit http://www.momcentral.com/