What Is Swine Flu?:
Swine flu has gotten a lot of media attention and is sure to get more during the regular flu season. But don't panic. What you should know is that it's a type a influenza virus much like those that circulate each year from October through March. The difference with this virus is that since it hasn't gone around before, less folks are immune to it and so more people can possibly get it. The good news is that the prevention, symptoms and treatment are much like those associated with seasonal flu.
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Why Is it Called Swine Flu?:
Swine flu was first thought to be like the virus that pigs in North America get. Now we know that's not the case, though this virus does have components of swine flu viruses (as well as human and bird viruses, too). You should also know that you and your toddler can eat properly cooked pork without fear of getting sick from this flu virus.
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What Are the Symptoms of Swine Flu?:
Symptoms of this flu are much like the season flu. Your toddler might experience a fever and cough as well as a sore throat and body aches. You may also notice that your normally active toddler just wants to be in bed and doesn't seem to have any energy. It's important that you seek medical care as soon as possible. Early treatment with antivirals can improve recovery times and an accurate diagnosis can help you keep your toddler quarantined and prevent others from getting sick.
How Can I Prevent My Toddler from Getting Swine Flu?:
Good hygiene practices are essential to illness prevention just like they are throughout the year to prevent other types of cold and flu. Thorough hand washing or use of hand sanitizer is a solid first line of defense. The hardest part for parents of toddlers is trying to keep those hands out of eyes, noses and mouths. The easiest part: setting a good example of how to wash hands and cover mouths.
How Would My Toddler Be Treated for Swine Flu?:
For toddlers, medical treatment consists mostly of the antiviral Tamiflu. If you have an older child, they might be given Relenza. Over-the-counter medications are still not recommended given the problems with those drugs in the past. Parents of toddlers should opt for a humidifier, bulb syringe and doses of tender loving care.
Have There Been Any Toddler Deaths from Swine Flu?:
The very first death that was reported in the United States was that of a toddler. But while it made big headlines, there have been relatively few other deaths involving children.
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Should I Take My Toddler to a Swine Flu Party?:
Much like chicken pox parties, talk of swine flu parties is buzzing around message boards and social media sites. Not surprisingly, health officials are not at all keen on the idea of exposing your child to this virus or helping the spread of what's already been labeled a global pandemic.