The Swine Flu: How to Protect Your Family's Health

When I learned that seventeen children on my eldest son's football team had been diagnosed with swine flu virus this year, I became concerned. The reports in the media have us frightened, but we should not be scared into inaction. In this article, you'll learn how to protect yourself and your children from the H1N1 virus.

Although most of think of the flu in much the same way that we think of a cold, the flu can be very dangerous. In fact, every year, 40,000 people in the United States die from it. Back in the 1950's, my mother had the Hong Kong flu when she was 18 years old. Even in the prime of her youth, she almost died from it. At one point, she was absolutely delirious and she lost about thirty pounds. For six months, after her miraculous recovery, she weighed in at only 87 pounds.

Of course, everyone knows about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. This was caused by an extremely virulent strain of the H1N1 virus. The pandemic lasted two years, spread around the world (and remember, this was before people were traveling as much as we do today), infected 500 million people and killed between 50-100 million people.

Like the 1918 flu, the swine flu targets people with the strongest immunity in our population: teens and young adults because it creates an overreaction in the immune system and the stronger your immunity, the

Symptoms of the H1N1 Virus

The symptoms of the swine flu are no different than the symptoms of any other type of flu: fever, aches and pains, chills, sweats, and respiratory symptoms are what you need to look for. What makes this flu different is that you may get sick, better and sick again. If you get sick a second time, this is when you need to take aggressive action because the second time around, you will be hit with bacterial pneumonia. The onset of symptoms is swift and if this isn't caught early enough, the results can be fatal. In fact, my mother, who has been a nurse for over 30 years, says that so far this year, three young mothers have died of the swine flu in her hospital. Try as they might, the doctors simply could not save them.

So the bottom line is, if you get sick a second time, take yourself to the hospital immediately and insist on being treated for bacterial pneumonia.

Currently, there is no swine flu vaccine. Although they are working on it, medical professionals don't think it will be ready before the flu season hits. Of course, where I live, it has already hit hard in our high schools and it's only the third week of school.

The best thing you can do for the swine flu is wash your hands. Tell your children not to share drinks or food at school or after school activities. Encourage family members to cough into the crook of their arm, rather into their hands which may leave the H1N1 virus on the things they touch for other people to pick up.

If your child gets sick with the flu, take him to the doctor and have him cultured for the swine flu. This way, you will know if he has it and can watch closely for its return and take him to the doctor if he relapses.

The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia which can be an outcome of the swine flu are: fever, coughing out yellow sputum, sore throat. If you put your ear to your child's chest, you might be able to hear the rattled breathing. If you notice these symptoms, don't wait: take your child to the doctor.

Although the flu season hasn't hit us yet, people are already coming down with H1N1 virus. If you and your family have not had it yet, doctors suggest that you get a regular flu vaccine and also a pneumonia vaccine. As mentioned before, currently, there is no swine flu shot.

About the Author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting, which teaches parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and lead purposeful and fulfilling lives.

Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied in full or in part or redistributed in any form without the express written permission of the author.

Swine Flu - Healthy Family


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