Important actions to take if you think your child has H1N1 flu:
Do not panic! Most cases of H1N1 influenza are mild and resolve on their own with time. Most children with flu do not need to be seen in the clinic.
1) Keep your child at home and avoid contact with other people. Staying at home means that the sick person should not leave home except to seek medical care. This means avoiding normal activities, including work, school, daycare, travel, shopping, social and public gatherings until at least 24 hours without fever.
2) Contact your health care provider if you have questions, if your child has severe symptoms or if you or a family member are at high risk for flu complications. Patients enrolled at Hill Air Force Base should call (801) 728-2600.
3) Seek emergency medical care if your child becomes ill and experiences any of the following emergency warning signs:
>> Fast or troubled breathing
>> Bluish skin color
>> Exhibits signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination or, in infants, a lack of tears when crying
>> Severe or persistent vomiting
>> Not waking up or interacting
>> Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
>> Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Individuals are at high risk for flu complications with the following:
>> Younger than 5 years of age
>> Chronic conditions of the immune, respiratory, cardiac or renal systems -- examples of such conditions include diabetes and asthma
>> Blood disorders, including sickle cell disease
Again, keep your child home from school or daycare for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that people with influenza-like illness remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius), or free of signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
Steps to lessen the spread of H1N1 influenza in the home:
Important steps to take to protect yourself and others when caring for household members who are sick with the flu include the following:
>> Keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible -- especially others who are at high risk for complications from influenza
>> Remind the sick person to cover their coughs and clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often, especially after coughing or sneezing
>> Have everyone in the household clean their hands often, using soap and water or an alcohol-based rub. Keep unclean hands away from your face!
>> Ask your health care provider if household contacts of the sick person -- particularly those contacts who may be pregnant or have chronic health conditions -- should take antiviral medications to prevent the flu
Protecting the caregiver
If you are the caregiver:
>> Avoid being face-to-face with the sick person
>> When holding small children who are sick, place their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face
>> Clean your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub after you touch the sick person or handle used tissues or laundry items
>> If you are at high risk of influenza-associated complications, contact the clinic for further instructions. Additionally, avoid being the primary caretaker, if possible. Try to avoid close contact (within six feet) with household members who are sick with influenza.
>> If close contact with a sick individual is unavoidable, consider wearing a facemask
H1N1 and breastfeeding
Breastfeeding protects babies. Breast milk passes on antibodies from the mother to a baby. Antibodies help fight off infection.
Flu can be very serious in young babies. Babies who are breastfed do not get as sick and are sick less often from the flu than babies who are not breastfed.
Is it ok to breastfeed my baby if I am sick?
A mother's milk is made to fight diseases in her baby. This is really important in young babies when their immune system is still growing.
Do not stop breastfeeding if you are ill. Limit formula feeds if you can. This will help protect your baby from infection.
Be careful not to cough or sneeze in the baby's face, wash your hands often with soap and water.
Your doctor might ask you to wear a mask to keep from spreading this new virus to your baby.
If you are too sick to breastfeed, pump and have someone give the expressed milk to your baby.
Is it OK to take medicine to treat or prevent H1N1 flu while breastfeeding?
Yes. Mothers who are breastfeeding can continue to nurse their babies while being treated for the flu
Antiviral medications can sometimes help lessen influenza symptoms, but require a prescription. Most children do not need these antiviral drugs to fully recover from the flu. However, children with certain chronic conditions who are at higher risk for severe flu complications may benefit from antiviral medications. Contact your provider for more information about antiviral medication.
Children older than 5 years of age can take medicines without aspirin, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nu-prin) to relieve symptoms of fever and body aches. Call the clinic if you have questions about medications.
Children younger than 5 years of age should not be given over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a health care provider.
The safest care for flu symptoms in children younger than 2 years of age is using a cool-mist humidifier and a suction bulb to help clear away mucus.
Over-the-counter cold and flu medications used according to package instructions may help lessen some symptoms such as cough and congestion. However, these medications will not lessen viral shedding.
Check the package label to see if the medication contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children or teenagers who have the flu; this can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye's syndrome. Check ingredient labels on over-the-counter cold and flu medications to see if they contain aspirin.