Preventing Swine Flu

by jessicaturner on September 21, 2009

I have been doing a lot of reading and listening about swine flu. I am generally not one to get overly nervous about things, but with Elias being in day care four days a week and a boy in Nashville dying from swine flu a few weeks ago, it has me a little nervous. It is spread just like the flu – mainly through coughing and sneezing of infected people. Here are some good tips I have found:

  • Wash your hands often!
  • Use hand sanitizer often – make sure it is at least 60% alcohol.
  • When opening doors, if possible, use your arm or elbows, not hands.
  • Avoid going out more than you have to – shop in bulk, get your Christmas shopping done early, etc. (This may seem extreme, but it makes sense. Think of how many people are in the stores and sick at Christmas! All the more reason to shop now.)

Signs and symptoms*
The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?*
People infected with seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems and in people infected with the new H1N1 virus.

*Taken from here

I’m curious – what are your thoughts on swine flu?

How are you preventing it from hitting your family?

A vaccine is coming out later this fall – do you think you and your family will get it?
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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie September 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I guess I am not really that concerned about the virus. From what I read, it is just another strain of the flu. The reason it is such a big deal is because it is a new strain that not many people know about; thus causing fear. Sadly, many people die from the regular flu each year, which is why I am perplexed as to why people are making a huge deal over this strain of the flu.

I am not big on vaccines, especially one that has just been 'invented' in the last few months or so. It is way too soon to see what the long term side affects may be. Yes, the vaccine may prevent my son from possibly getting the flu…but it may also be responsible for giving him _____ (fill in the blank) some time in the future. I guess it is a 50/50 shot (no pun intended).

Good topic of discussion. Can't wait to hear what others think :)


Angela September 21, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I am not worried about it. I'll get my flu shot but not the H1N1. I'm pregnant and I am really not worried about it. If I DO get Swine Flu I am capable of going to my doctor to get the treatment I need. People who die from the flu or swine flu are already sick to begin with or don't seek treatment in time. I am not in that group of people and most people aren't.
Our church has taken measures such as, not allowing sick kids in the nursery. Even if the child has a clear runny nose they aren't allowing them in. If you are a nursery worker same rule applies. Luckily we have not had cases of the flu spreading through the church. Thank goodness.


Debbie September 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Last years flu shot was useless all of the people that got the vaccine it was a waste….they had the wrong strain. It was an absolutly a waste they guessed at the wrong strain, which is what they do, they guess which strain it will be from year to year….like carrie said, its a 50/50 chance but I do think people very young and very old should not take that chance.


ali(adil320) September 21, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I work in a hospital, so I will be required to get the seasonal Flu shot along with any vaccination that come along for H1N1. I will also get my children vaccinated, as they are in childcare, and with me in the health care field I will not take that chance.

To the pregnant woman above, H1N1 is VERY dangerous for pregnant women. It has hit them harder than almost anyone else, as you have a compromised immune system. I would for sure speak with your Dr before making your choice!

Good luck this season, and I hope everyone stays well!


Char September 21, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I am not worried about it now, because we have lived through it. lol

My son had the swine flu about 2 weeks ago. (yes he was tested and came back positive). It was exactly like any other flu.
The worst part was the high fevers, keeping it under control. However, he was over it after about 5 days. I have a 7 month old baby that I was really concerned about catching it but he seemed to handle the sickness ok. The worst part about the flu is the same with any other developing into pneumonia. That is what I was more afraid of.

I will not be getting the vaccine (not sure if we need it now), but did not plan on doing so originally either.


Andrea September 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I'm as concerned as I am about the regular flu so I'm taking the same precautions. I don't take the kids with me to the grocery store, we don't go to the mall, we try to plan outdoor instead of indoor weekend activities (like the park instead of the movie theater, for example) while the weather is still nice. 3 of my 4 are in school/preschool so I always make sure they wash hands before and after school. I'm not sure about the vaccine. We will certainly get the yearly flu shot but I am hesitant to get a new vaccine. I think I'll wait to make that decision when it is available. Thanks for the tips, the early Christmas shopping is a good idea. We'll probably do most of our shopping online this year.


northcarmen September 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Yes, I am definitely getting the H1N1 vaccine — pregnant women are particularly in danger from this virus, from what I've been told, and I want to protect myself and my baby. Here, the health region will be giving the vaccine for free to pregnant women, children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. H1N1 is NOT the same as a normal flu — it is spreading much, much faster (that's why it's a pandemic!), so even if you only get "normal" flu symptoms, you are dangerous to others around you who may be susceptible to more severe symptoms. Here at least, our provincial government is guaranteeing that there will be enough for everyone, and it is people taking risks (for themselves AND others) by NOT being vaccinated who will cause problems, IMO.


Dawn September 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Great topic for discussion!

We will not be getting the vaccine. That thing has been whipped together over the summer in a lab somewhere and like Carrie said, they have absolutely no idea what the long term side effects could be! One of my best friends is an RN at a local hospital and won't be getting the vaccine for herself or her family either.

I think all of the precautions you gave are excellent. I just think everybody needs to stay calm and use common sense. Here's hoping we all stay well!


Jus and Kat September 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Okay, I'm not going to weigh in on the "to vaccinate or not vaccinate" debate, but that "lab somewhere" is THE Centers for Disease Control. So if somebody's "whipping" something up to take care of this pandemic, I rather it come from them and not somebody's kitchen. But, hey, to each his own.


Meli September 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm

We are not incredibly concerned about the swine flu, at least, not anymore than we are about the "regular" flu. I got a flu shot a couple of weeks ago at the suggestion of my doctor, and so will my daughter and husband, because we will have a newborn in the house in a few weeks, and I'd like to prevent as much sickness as possible.

However, we are not getting the swine flu vaccine. I agree with some of the previous posts that it is just too new, and I am more concerned about the long term damage that may be done by the vaccine, especially since mercury is one of the ingredients.

To prevent any virus from infecting us, my husband carries baby wipes and hand sanitizer in his car so that he can clean his hands often (he deals with a lot of people). I also bathe my daughter as soon as she gets home from preschool to help wash off any germs, and make sure to change her clothes. We are planning on doing most of our Christmas shopping online also!


BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) September 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I took my girls to get the flu mist vaccine Friday afternoon and my 7-year-old is home today with a low grade fever. Bummer!

We had one case of swine flu at my daughter's daycare early last week and I have to admit I freaked out a little. Luckily I am able to work from home if needed since I primarily do writing/copy editing and my husband stayed home with her one day. She's back today and I noticed the classrooms smelled like bleach!

I'm just making sure they wash their hands as soon as we get home in the afternoons even if they complain and say, "But mommy we JUST washed our hands." 😉


Nurse Bee September 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm

The main concern I have seen about the H1N1 flu is that it tends to be spread more easily to school-age children and young adults (this is the opposite of the regular flu which is more prevelant in the very young and the very old). There have been a few local cases of otherwise healthy young people who have suddenly become very sick and died. So, I am concerned and do plan on getting myself vaccinated, as a healthcare worker, I may be expected to care for those with either strain of flu.

For my daughter, I'll probably see what our ped thinks about the vaccine for babies.


Roxanne September 21, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I was just talking about this with a friend this morning! I live in Edmonton, Alberta. I have a son starting kindergarten and a daughter in playschool a couple mornings per week. They are healthy kids, and my pediatrician has always advised against given them the regular flu immunization…but has encouraged me to get it since I am a teacher and work with kids. We also have the additional concern with my husband and his asthma…for some reason it was worse this summer than usual. I am curious what his recomendation will be for this one.
I guess the big issue is also the disruption in regulary life. Situations like daycares and schools could be in jeopardy if too many of the adults are ill. On any given year when the regular flu hits, there are a few weeks where there are not enough supply staff to replace teachers who are sick. I think if it does go to pandemic level, we will notice it wherever we go….shopping, services.
The other thing that sets this one apart is the strength of it. We are being asked to quarantine ourselves for seven days after having it. This is new. It could have a huge impact on working parents who rely on daycare and school!
I do know that I will be relieved when it is over and done with!!
Good topic.


Jenn Becker September 21, 2009 at 7:03 pm

This is my first year having a baby and dealing with vaccines and flu shots. Until I was pregnant, I had never gotten a flu shot for myself…I just didn't feel it was necessary. THEN our LO came into the picture and now I have to put a lot of thought into vaccines and what I want to do. "The Vaccine Book" helped me a TON by giving me an objective view of vaccines and some options for my baby. There is also a website with constant updates. Here is a link that discusses the Swine Flu vaccine and addresses the "newness" issues as well as the concern regarding number of shots now suggested. I thought it was helpful.


michelle September 21, 2009 at 7:41 pm

I am a second grade teacher with a 17 month old and am 4 months pregnant. I AM FREAKING OUT!!!!

I don't want to get the vaccine b/c how long have they really had to study/test it. But getting the swine flu has proved to be so dangerous to pregnant women.

Then I worry about my daughter and me possibly bringing something home to her. I have considered showering and changing my clothes before picking her up from daycare. (but then i feel crazy and paranoid) My little ones are constantly hugging/touching me as they should- i'm their teacher! In my classroom, I am keeping windows open, spraying lysol, using the clorox wipes and encouraging lots of hand washing!
You definitely touched on a topic that has been weighing very heavily on my mind.


Kim M September 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

I am just encouraging my kids to wash their hands often. I am not one to go into panic mode or anything. We will NOT be getting the vaccine. It is just so new, it bothers me that it will be released to the public without what I feel will be proper testing. I think they are rushing the whole process too much and worry that getting the vaccine will do more harm than good.


Amanda September 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm

As someone who works for the CDC, I cannot emphasize enough that a tremendous amount of consideration has been put into the recommendations regarding the H1N1 vaccine. While I respect each person's decision to vaccinate or not, please don't think that these vaccines are produced erratically and with no care. Those who have already received them in clinical trials have experienced side effects that are similar to those experienced with the regular flu shot and typically include tenderness at the site of injection and a mild, short-term fever. That being said, preventive measures like hand-washing and avoiding crowded public places at the peak of flu season are excellent tools to manage disease transmission. I really respect all of you parents for your concern and commitment to caring for both yourselves and your children. I also agree with those who have posted above that there's no need to panic—it is, after all, the flu. If you wouldn't normally rush your child to the ER for the flu, don't do so now. Pay attention to their symptoms and call your physician first.

Thanks Jessica for raising such an important topic….and for such a great blog :)


The Miller Family September 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm

My mom is a nutritionist and one huge thing we can do to protect ourselves from all kinds of nasty sicknesses is take vitamin D. Pretty much everyone is vitamin D deficient and it helps tremendously in boosting the immune system. There are vitamin D drops available for all ages too! :o) Just some mommy info to pass along!


That's Who I Am September 21, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Being a school teacher of first graders AND pregnant, I am VERY nervous about H1N1. I know a few people that have gotten it on college univerisities. Of course I am also finishing my master's right now so I am also on a college campus! My doctor really wants me to get the vacine, but I am really nervous about it for many reasons. First they don't have any clue what the long term effects of it could be for me or the baby. I just got my regular flu shot and I was sick for two weeks after recieving it. All of these doctor's are recommending this shot so I guess it is important for those at high risk to get it.

I am with you on washing hands and hand sanitizer. I have a sink in my classroom and my kids know that they can wash their hands at ANY time of the day. There is no reason to not take too much precaution at this point! I sure hope Elias doesn't get it and I hope that you and your husband stay healthy as well!


Maryanne September 21, 2009 at 11:59 pm

I work in a preschool/child care center, but I'm not anymore worried about H1N1 than the regular flu. (The center is, and being super cautious). I'm getting a flu shot (mostly because they're being offered for free at work) and being cautious, but probably won't be getting the H1N1 vaccine at this point.

Thousands upon thousands of people die from influenza every year, and that doesn't really get the attention it deserves, in my opinion. I think there's a definite panic because this is new – the unknown is scary. But you know, I don't have kids, nor am I pregnant so I'm sure there's a little more worry attached to that, and understandably so.

I think the tips you gave are great for any flu season, and I hadn't even thought about Christmas shopping! (Although I will probably still be shopping last minute like I always do.) :)

Great topic of discussion, though. I've enjoyed reading the comments.


Lindseycl September 22, 2009 at 12:56 am

Really we are just washing hands often, hiding coughs and sneezes etc. It's easy to get caught up in this thing and get fearful. It is just like any other flu. The ones who are dying aren't getting it taken care of right away and with children parents are ignoring symptoms and passing it off as allergies. I am taking my kids to the doctors tomorrow since they have fevers, coughs, sore throats and runny noses. Better safe than sorry I always say :)


Anonymous September 22, 2009 at 1:33 am

From what I've read, by the time they come out with the vaccine, the worst of the flu will be over.


Amy September 22, 2009 at 1:35 am

Yes, we will be getting the vaccine. My kids are 1 1/2 and 4, and (assuming the ped. recommends it), they'll get the shot. As far as it being "whipped up" over the summer, I heard a physician discussing this exact issue on our local Christian radio station just the other day. He said that the vaccine is very similar to the other "flu shot," and, therefore goes through the same type of testing. He believe that it is perfectly safe. That being said, I have heard that some variants of the shot contain "thimerosal," which I will definitaly make sure is not in the shot for my kids. Otherwise, we'll keep our hands clean, wipe carts at the store, shop less than we already do, and stay out of the nursery. :) My whole family is in the medical field, so I generally follow their advice, too.


Michelle Cearley September 22, 2009 at 2:05 am

My husband just got over H1N1 (he tested positive for flu and had all the symptoms). He missed EIGHT days of work, and he is still not 100% strength. It wasn't life threatening, but just like a really bad regular flu. Luckily, no one else got it at our house. I took Tamiflu, but pediatrician didn't recommend it for the three kids. He quarantined himself in the guestroom, and I wiped down everything all the time with Clorox wipes. We'll all get flu shots but probably not H1N1 vaccines until I know more about them. I'm expecting some schools will close for a week or so at some point in the fall/winter if it hits hard. I'm a teacher too.


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jayfersgirl September 22, 2009 at 3:51 am

We don't do many vaccines anyway, and definitely weren't planning to do even the regular flu shot on our 13 month old…the 2 years I've gotten the shot, I ended up getting the flu within a week of getting the shot. Not because I got it from the shot, but because the strain they "guessed" for that year was wrong, my immune system was compromised by the shot, and therefore when exposed to the actual strain in the world, I got it.
We had also decided to definitely NOT do the H1N1 vaccine…it is a brand-new vaccine. It has not been tested thoroughly enough AT ALL. I know the CDC is doing everything they can to ensure that it is safe, but only time can do that. As we found out with the rotovirus causing horrible side effects a few years ago, you just can't always tell what the effects are right away.
Turns out we probably didn't even need to have the discussion as my daughter and I had the flu a week ago…most likely H1N1. They didn't test us for it, but it's what's going around here. I only felt truly awful and miserable for one day — and it was absolutely awful, I'm not going to lie. But otherwise, it was like a regular flu.
My daughter still breastfeeds, and I got the symptoms 2 days before she did. I called the doctor, and they said "Keep nursing! You're giving her all the antibodies to protect her!" and she seemed to get a much milder form than I did. She had a mild fever, as opposed to the high one I did, etc.
Anyway, I personally wouldn't do the vaccine, but that's just my opinion. Everyone has to decide for themselves…good luck!


"Intentionally Katie" September 22, 2009 at 4:27 am

I think the media has a tendency to blow stuff like this out of proportion, so I'm not one to freak out. (and we don't do vaccines at all, so that's a "no" for sure)

But I'm 8.5 months pregnant and when I asked my pediatrician, he suggested that as soon as my kids come home from school (I have one in Kindergarten and one in pre-school) he suggested that as soon as they get in the door, I have them strip down and change their clothes immediately, then wash their hands. I thought this was very interesting (I've only had summer babies and have never had to worry about RSV) and have never heard of anything like it. The Dr said tons of germs hang out on clothes and that my kids shouldn't touch the new baby until they've changed and washed their hands.

I thought that might be helpful for the swine flu and for other parents with kids in school + infants.


Anonymous September 26, 2009 at 4:07 am

As with all vaccinces there is a risk to vaccintion. In my mind the risk of the flu is much less than the potential risk associated with the vaccine.

I will not vaccinate, i will eat more fruits and vegetables to boost my immune system, be more diligent about my multi vitamin, increase excersize and continue with proper handwashing in order to stay healthy – this has worked in the past and am confident that it will work again!


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