Parents and Children Can Take Steps to Avoid H1N1

Ways to make the swine flu less fearsome for your family.

Jackie Loohauis-Bennett

McClatchy Tribune Newspapers

January 20, 2010


Your child has symptoms that used to just upset you: runny nose, sore throat, cough.

Now those same symptoms terrify you.

You know they may be signs of the H1N1 "swine flu" influenza strain.

That flu has already swept through many parts of the country and experts fear a resurgence this fall.

Parents now have to sift through a swirling mass of information about this new health threat. Younger children may be even more confused.

"What I'm hearing is that parents are fearful because of the unknown, because it's something new. People get the feeling that it's a changing playing field where recommendations are changing, which is true," says David Ulery, pediatrician at Aurora Wilkinson Medical Clinic in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

Kids cope with flu fears in their own way.

"Kids are fearful of the shots. But some of our children say, 'I'm not afraid of the shot, so can I get one for my sister because she's afraid and then she doesn't have to get one?' " says John R. Meurer, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of general pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and medical director of Milwaukee's Downtown Health Center.

There are ways to make the swine flu less fearsome for both parents and children. Here are some ideas.


And the old saying about sugar making "the medicine go down" holds with shots, too. "Tell your child he or she will be rewarded after getting the shot, maybe with a sticker or a little book or treat," Meurer says.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Journal Sentinel files