H1N1: A Parents' Guide

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H1N1: A Parents' Guide

Tips for Preventing Your Children from Getting the H1N1 Virus and What to Do if They Get Sick

Sources: CBS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Children's Memorial Hospital


General Tips

-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.

-Emphasize to children that they should wash with soap and water long enough to finish singing the alphabet song. Also, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

-Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and instruct children to do the same.

-Boost natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C.

-Don't allow sharing or trading of costume masks.

-Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

About the Vaccine:

-People 6 months to 24 years old should be first in line for a vaccine. Also a priority: pregnant women, healthcare and emergency service workers, people who live with or care for children under 6 months old and people with chronic health disorders. Flu.gov has an interactive national map to find a flu shot near you.

-Children 10 years and older and adults will need 1 dose.

-Children younger than 10 years of age will need 2 doses, at least 1 month apart.

-Infants younger than 6 months of age are too young to get the 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines.

-Immunity doesn't happen immediately; it takes a week or two after the last shot for the vaccine to take full effect.


Symptoms May Include:



-Sore throat

-Body aches




-Vomiting or diarrhea

-It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.


General Care

-Keep your sick child at home until at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).

-Call the school or daycare to notify that your child has flu symptoms.

-Do not take your child to the mall, grocery store, or any place where he or she might expose others to the flu.

-Do not give aspirin or aspirin-containing products (like Pepto Bismol) to children 18 years of age and younger. This increases the risk of Reye syndrome.

-Children older than 6 months can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) for relief of fever.

-Do not give over-the-counter cold medicines to children younger than 4 years of age. The safest care for flu symptoms in children younger than 2 years of age is using a cool-mist humidifier and a suction bulb to help clear away mucus.
-Your doctor may prescribe a drug called Tamiflu.

Seek Emergency Care If You Child Has:

-Fast breathing or trouble breathing.

-Grunting noises or wheezing

-Bluish skin color

-Not drinking enough fluids

-Not waking up or not interacting

-Being so irritable that he or she not want to be held

-Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

-Fever with a rash

-Dehydration: difficult to awaken, no urination in past 8 hours, dry mouth and lips, no tears when crying

-Ear discharge