Swine Flu Outbreak - What to Do?

Updated on May 03, 2009
J.C. asks from Boston, MA
9 answers

What are other parents doing about the swine flu outbreak? We decided not to take our 9 month old daughter to indoor playgroups, but are still going to the playground, etc. Is that safe? Our area has already had some incidents. Other than that, we are washing hands all the time. Not sure if there are other precautions we should be taking.

Consumer Reports gave out the following list -- is it adequate?

* If swine flu is in your community, stay away from malls, theaters and other crowded places.
* Teach your children to wash their hands vigorously with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before and after eating, and after coughing or sneezing.
* Show them how to cough or sneeze into their elbow to avoid infecting their hand, or cover their mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and to throw it away.
* Tell them to try their best to keep a distance of about six feet from others who are sick.
* Keep sick children at home from school or daycare until they are better. Children can remain infectious longer than adults, up to 10 days, compared to about 7 for adults.

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answers from Burlington on

Hi Simone,

Things I like to have on hand during viral/flu outbreaks:

Pedialyte - That way if vomitting occurs I try to keep them hydrated. (You can make your own home remedy if you prefer.)
Tylenol Meltaways - To keep the fever down.
A "vomit bowl" - Kept in close reach of them.
Facial tissues and a trash can - To wipe wipe tears and noses.
Cups in the bathroom cupboard - to rinse out mouths after vomitting folowed by brushing teeth if the child has enough energy for that.

Some viral something or other went through here. One of my sons had a fever and vomitted for a day. By the end of the day he was able to start consuming homemade chicken soup broth. My other son had a headache with fever. The headache wasn't touched with the Tylenol. It went away when he was all better.

Don't panic.

Good luck,
: ) Maureen

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I don't think you need to do anything differently at all. Did you avoid everyplace in the wintertime when the regular flu abounds? I admit to also feeling a little panicked about the swine flu, and then I remembered that there's 6.5 billion people in the world, less than 2000 of them have confirmed cases of the swine flu, and fewer than 300 of them have died from it. There are lots of things worth worrying about, but, at this point, I don't think swine flu is one of them. Just keep yourself as healthy as you can in general.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Don't take this the wrong way but I cannot believe how crazy people are getting over this flu plain and simple its the flu its the people that don't take good care of themselves that have complications treat it like any other flu wash your hands all the time, eat well, the virus doesn't last long at all outside the human body, and you have to be in very close contact w/ a person. This big fuss is just a ploy for the big drug companies so they can get rid of their extra tamiflu that is going to expire. A total of 19 deaths from this flu has everyone freaking out when in the United states alone 36000 people die every year from the seasonal flu. It is safe to take your child to playgroup, shopping, etc. just wash her hands.

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answers from New London on

I think outdoor playgrounds should be safe. The sun probably kills most of the virus, but just make sure you wash her hands. I would bring some anti-bacterial wipes, but she should be fine. 9 month olds don't really interact too closely with other kids at a playground. Playgroups are a little different. Kids share toys, drool all over them, breathe on each other, hold hands, etc. There is a better chance of sharing germs at a playgroup, but that goes for any germs not just the swine flu (which would be really rare).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

As a doctor I can tell you that the swine flu panic is a joke... don't even think about it. Take care of your self and your family... eat healthy and take some extra vitamin C if you want. Drug companies are using fear to make billions.

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answers from Boston on

Ditto to the other replies - this whole thing is ridiculous.

If you are healthy and your child is healthy, and you are building the immune system with healthy organic whole foods and making sure you have enough vitamins, especially A, C, and D, then your body will be equipped to fight things and you won't need to feel worried about it. =)

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answers from Boston on

Hi Simone,

It is very scary worrying about something we know little about and have no real power over. The recommendations seem reasonable. Little ones are most at risk. They put everything in their mouths and really can't be expected to follow good hygiene.

Some strains of influenza are more virulent than others. Like the Avian flu the initial outbreak often occurs in economically depressed areas where people and livestock live closely together. And yes, it is transmitted from animal to human and no, you cannot catch it from eating cooked meat. When this new flu infects an individual who is cocomittantly infected with a human influenza the two strains can combine and mutate. The animal flu becomes able to spread from human to human. These are how pandemics occur.

The CDC follows patterns which helps it determine if the flu virus has mutated. In the case of the swine flu all indications are that it has. The glimmer of hope is that frequently after the virus mutates it is often attenuated and thus decreased severity of symptoms are present. This also seems to be the case with swine flu as most of the people now getting the illness are having milder cases.

I would reinforce keeping away from indoor playgrounds at this time but try not to panic. If your daughter is not in daycare, you already have a huge advantage. Watch out for shopping carts as well. As you know, baby will chew on the handle and anyway certainly the hands will be on the cart and then in the mouth.

If you have known outbreaks in your community, the more public places you go the more opportunity to become infected.

One thing I would add is if you or your daughter or anyone in your household becomes sick with fever and other flulike symptoms (cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, nausea, vomiting, headache) then go to your physican or emergency room asap. There is a small window of opportunity after the onset of symptoms when taking Tamiflu can significantly reduce the severity of the infection. If there is no fever (greater than 100) do not worry about influenza. Fever is always a hallmark to influenza.

Best Wishes,
J. L.



answers from Portland on

First, sleep when your baby sleeps. If she naps, you nap.
Only way to rest...sleep in installments just like she does.
OK, Flu.
I am not at all sure this flu is the impending pandemic the media leads us to believe.
The media blitz could be a coverup for the antics of the government ( for instance, government taking over Chrysler and GM in a very unorthodox manner)
Flu...763 cases globally in 18 countries...450 of those cases in Mexico and every other country that has cases the sick have visited Mexico or have been with people that have visited Mexico.
There have been 19 deaths...16 of those in Mexico. One was a 23 month old boy in Texas.
Mexico is a medically very backward country. Extremely poor medical care..folks are simply not healthy there for lack of proper medical care from infancy.
There is a school here in Maine closed because 2 children have the flu..they had been in contact with a person that visited Mexico and Gov. Baldacci thought it best to be careful.
Take regular precautions against flu/colds as the consumer reports advises.
At your child's age I do not believe I would take her to any public places until the threat of this flu abates. Especailly not a playground.
She is very vunerable at her age, yes?
And you could refrain from public places as much as possible until this is over.
Make sure hubby washes hands the minute he comes home.
If you err, err on the side of caution.
Best wishes and God bless
Grandmother Lowell



answers from Boston on

So what did you do during the winter months to help protect yourself from the "regular" flu?

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