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H1N1 Flu Updates for the Family

H1N1 Flu Updates for the FamilyThe flu, especially the swine flu is making headlines everyday and I deemed it wise to give you the latest flu updates that may be relevant for you and your family.

Swine Flu Shots in New York Schools

Schools in New York City will start offering H1N1 shots end of October, the NY Times report. Those of you residing in NYC might already have received the consent forms. The vaccination will cover primary public schools but private schools who want to participate will also get access to the vaccine. The shots or nasal sprays will be administered by school nurses. Middle and high schools are scheduled later in November and December. Other cities and states are expected to follow suit.

Pregnant Women Urged to Get the H1N1 flu Vaccine

Pregnant women are on top of the H1N1 vaccination priority list. This is because pregnant women seem to be especially vulnerable. Health authorities say that the mortality rate among women infected with H1N1 is six times higher than what is normally observed in the general population. The reasons for pregnant women’s vulnerability are their young age and an immune system that is naturally weakened in order not to reject the growing fetus. It is, however, very hard for pregnant women to accept the flu vaccine despite health official’s reassurances of its safety. So far, 28 deaths have been reported among pregnant women in the US but health officials think it could be more. Many cases go unreported for confidentiality reasons. An NY Times report features one almost fatal case.

Tamiflu for Children in Short Supply

In another report from the NY Times earlier this month, Mary Poppin’s advice that a spoonful of sugar would make medicine more palatable may also be true for the flu drug Tamiflu. The liquid pediatric version of the drug is in short supply as drug companies are concentrating on producing more pills which are definitely much faster to manufacture than Tamiflu syrup. Some sources say that the manufacturing process for the suspension is almost 25 times longer than for the pills. Pharmacists are therefore advised to mix Tamiflu capsules in a liquid that consists of sugar, purified water, artificial cherry flavoring. The instructions on how to mix the liquid version are given in the Tamiflu labels, the report says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also gives easy to understand instructions in their site.

Flu Fears Prompt Review of the Sportsman Handshake

The hockey season has started and sports associations are scrambling to come up with hygiene guidelines that would hopeful prevent the swine flu. CBC reports that the chief medical officer of Hockey Canada sent out a bulletin with recommended precautionary measures which include no sharing of water bottles and – yes – maybe even do without the end-of-game handshake. It’s not only hockey that is affected. I am a soccer mom here in Switzerland and as early as school start in August, there were already instructions to avoid the sportsmen handshake, if possible. Just one more challenge for parents to find the balance between short-term preventive measure and long-term character building. At least hockey players wear gloves…

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