I'm not one to be too alarmed about these things, but was grateful to read some advice sent home from one of our schools. It all comes down to some common sense and good habits, too!
These tips were forwarded from Jim Franicevich, a nurse practitioner in PublicHealth at the Refugee Clinic. He says that the most important issue in the control of ANY communicable disease is SANITATION. The best thing that we can do for our children and ourselves is to have them wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. Since young children often do not know how to do this well, we must help them by showing them.
- Use a good quality basic hand soap, NOT one with antibiotics or other "sanitizers" that are causing bacteria to become resistant.
- Show children how to rub a small quantity of soap AROUND AND AROUND to make good lather, working the bubbles around the nails and palms.
- Rinse well with warm water, if possible.
- Repeat the process cleaning around the mouth and nose, but only after the hands are clean.
- If no water and soap is available and you are using wipes, ALWAYS WIPE THE MOUTH FIRST BEFORE WIPING THE HANDS.
- Train children to cover their mouths when sneezing and coughing. The most practical way is to cover their face with their elbows. If mucus or spit comes out, they should wash their hands and face again. (For children who have allergies, this is bothersome but very important because it is not always possible to know if they are sneezing or coughing because of the allergies or sickness.)
- Avoid eating in places where food handling may be questionable.- Feed your child whole, nutrient dense foods to keep their immune system strong. Avoid sweets and carbohydrates with white flour that exhaust the digestive system.
- Most important is to observe your child for signs of fatigue, grumpiness, lack of appetite or fever and let your child rest at home. This is for the safety of your own child and the others she may come in contact with.
But if you are interested in options which do not include much common sense, you may want to take a look at this great video about Swine Flu precautions from the New York Times. Puts all the panic in perspective, really. Not that it shouldn't be taken seriously, just that there are limits to what we can control and what will be effective.