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Swine Flu Letter to Parents
Friday, 23 October 2009

October 23--  Vidalia High School principal Garrett Wilcox reports the school sent the following letter home to parents with some practical tips about Swine Flu and keeping their kids as safe as possible. 

Dear Parents:

•Are you worried about HINI (Swine) Flu? Would you consider it an emergency if your child was exposed or was exhibiting symptoms?

• The HINI Flu is a new strain of the influenza virus that has been responsible for mostly mild to moderate cases of the flu.

The symptoms are the same as with the "regular" flu: fever, chills, tiredness, decreased appetite, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms are best treated by over-the-counter supportive care such as fever-reducers, fluids, and rest.

Consider how you would have managed your child's "flu" before you heard about HINl; nothing has changed.

• For most, a visit to a doctor is not necessary during the course of the illness. As an exception, if your child has other medical problems such as asthma, diabetes, neuromuscular disease, or lung disease then they have an
 increased risk of having a more complicated course of the illness. Your pediatrician can best guide your child's care.

Prevention is the best medicine. Be sure to discuss the seasonal flu vaccine with your child's physician; it is recommended for children over 6 months of age and must be given yearly starting in September/October.

A second vaccine specifically for the HINI strain is now available on a limited basis.  Contact your doctor or the county health department.

The best way to protect yourself and your children from the HINI flu is by good
handwashing practices (soap and water for 20 seconds).

Teach your child ways to prevent the spread of germs: avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth; do not share water bottles or cups; avoid contact with
sick people.

• If your child has flu-like symptoms, be sure they stay home from school and limit hislher contact with others.

• You should wait until they are free of fever for 24 hours before returning to normal activities.

Unless you believe that your child is exhibiting symptoms of a significant or life-threatening complication (difficulty breathing, not waking up or interacting, bluish skin color) an emergency room visit is not required and will not lessen the illness. 

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