Tips for Parents
H1N1 Flu: Reminders & Updates
We're heading into a fall filled with vaccinations for H1N1 flu, as we await the final vaccine that pharmaceutical companies have been working on. The H1N1 vaccine is meant to be used with seasonal flu vaccine, not in place of it. And who should receive it first?
When the H1N1 vaccine initially becomes available, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that these five groups receive the first doses:
- Pregnant women
- People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old
- Health care and emergency medical services personnel
- All people from 6 months through 24 years old
- People aged 25-64 years old who are at higher risk for H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems
You'll notice that traditional-aged college students are included in this batch. The number of people in these five categories totals 159 million in the United States. And, if the vaccine is limited initially, the categories have been narrowed down even further.
What Students Can Do: Reminders
In the meantime, it can't hurt to reiterate to your student what he can do to keep himself and others healthy:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Throw that tissue in the trash right away
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing
- Or use alcohol-based hand cleaners
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, since germs spread this way
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people
Here's to everyone's health.
Warning Signs: Keep Watch
Some of the symptoms associated with the H1N1 flu are similar to seasonal flu: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Others also report diarrhea and vomiting. Emergency warning signs in adults that require urgent medical attention include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Encourage your student to contact the campus health center if he suspects that he is sick. And have him keep a careful eye out for vaccination information as it becomes available.
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