Thinkin' Out Loud

As It Relates To Swine Flu

So what are you telling your children about the Swine Flu?  Are you talking to them about it, and if so, to what degree?  How would you rate your level of concern?   Are you planning to change anything, travel plans or whatever, because of it?

53 thoughts on “As It Relates To Swine Flu

  1. I’ve been living in a cave or something because I don’t know why 20 known cases makes it a big deal. Has anyone died? The CDC site has this information: But, to me, it sounds like any other flu and we’ll just prevent it like we do any other virus. Wash hands and cover our coughs/sneezes.

    * * *
    I think any time a virus jumps species it is alarming. It means the virus is mutating and that is not good. The media has cried wolf so many times and therein lies the problem.

  2. It concerns me, especially as last week was our spring break, so who knows where students and their families went….and even if they didn’t go to Mexico, they were in airports and sharing flights with people who did….

    I considered keeping my girls home another week, or at least a few days, but my husband thinks I’m crazy because HE is out in the world working and we go to the grocery store and such. I see his point, but I have a second grader and a LOT of the kids in her class cannot seem to keep from picking their noses, licking their fingers, covering their mouths when chewing, etc. etc.

    As for telling my kids, I have said nothing because I don’t want to freak them out. They know to wash their hands before eating and they each have hand sanitizer in their backpack and lunchbox.

    I would certainly change travel plans if I had any, but I don’t.

  3. I just went and bought some of the face masks, and stocked up on tynenol, advil etc.

    I know I sound like a paranoid freak, but my mom just started chemo and so she has a compromised immune system- THAT is why I am concerned.

    As for me, I don’t plan on changing anything- i am already diligent about washing my hands, etc. I figure I have done what I can now and so I will turn any fears over to God.

    I will say though, that in our very mobile/global society…if this doesn’t turn into a pandemic- I think its only a matter of time before something happens. To what scale/scope is unknown, but eventually something will occur

  4. RIght now, I’m in a watchful state. My son has asthma, so it could potentially be dangerous for him. My father in law is almost 90, so it would most likely be lethal for him. But the reality is that I don’t want to huddle in fear inside my house. So, I’ll emphasize handwashing and other sensible practices and keep going about my business (barring a landslide of cases in my particular geographic area). I AM pondering the fact that the down economy may have actually helped to impair the spread of the flu in the U.S. Fewer people vacationed away from home this spring break, and that may be divine intervention (or pure luck, if you aren’t into the divine).
    As for talking to my son, I don’t want to put him into an unnecessary state of alert, so we really haven’t discussed it yet. If the time comes that I should need to do so, then I will. For now, math and handwriting are pretty much the scariest topics of conversation around here. How about you?

    * * *
    We are and always have been super diligent on hand washing and germ gelling. Sean’s never been a thumb sucker, so all that is good. I will probably take this opportunity to teach him about epidemiology and pandemics. Kidding! Sort of…

  5. Currently, the cases here in Canada have been mild, so I’m leaving the panicking to the professional worriers. (my MIL and SIL). I wouldn’t be traveling to Mexico if I could avoid it, and if I lived further South I would be getting tougher on the whole hand-washing thing, we’d probably avoid indoor playgrounds for a while etc.
    My kids are little so I don’t think I’ll tell them anything. If we had to curtail activities I’d keep the explanation as simple as humanly possible. I used to have students whose parents loaded them up with details on everything (including 9/11) and they were really too young for it. They were nervous, frightened little people and it didn’t seem necessary to me. One of the ways I can protect my kids is to control the information they receive and make sure it is age appropriate. Works for me anyway.
    The government of Canada has really good website (easy to navigate written in normal english etc, that I’ve found helpful just for general info.

  6. 1. Nothing

    2. No

    3. 2 out of 10 (I’m more worried about strep and that nasty gastroenteritis that has hit them both recently)

    4. Wasn’t planning on going anywhere anyways!

    My kidlets are awfully young, we don’t see many people coming in from Mexico, and I make them wash their hands and such anyways, so life goes on.

  7. It really doesn’t concern me…now. But I do remember when I had a new baby about a year old and the Hong Kong Flu was creating havok and it scared me to death. I was Lysol-ing the whole house and everywhere and thing that was touched. I was obsessed about it. But now?…no. I’m not scared of it. The difference being that I do not have children now to be scared of something like that. I’m always amazed at how our feelings and thoughts change through life. Perspective changes on so many different things. I’m not as worried as I used to be. Even though I still do worry about my grandchildren. There’s a difference somehow. I’m just not sure what it is.

  8. I thought flu season was supposed to end around this time of year, not begin!!! I got a flu shot last fall, but they only are effective for about 6 months. So far I have heard the cases of swine flu in the US have been mild, no deaths, and only about 40 cases confirmed, so I am not sure why they are calling this an epidemic and getting people all upset. I had a bad case of influenza a year ago that turned into pneumonia and I was sick in bed for an entire month- I have not heard of this swine flu being that bad, people seem to be recovering in 7-10 days. It doesn’t seem to be as bad here as in Mexico City.

  9. We are more concerned about this lengthening our wait to adopt internationally. When the SARS outbreak hit, the China adoption program virtually shut down. Now it’s a virus in OUR country… what happens if this becomes so large, other countries ban North Americans from entering their countries? International adoption programs requiring overseas travel will slow down even further.

    * * *
    Oh that must be heartbreaking! I hope that whatever little child is waiting for you reaches your arms one way or another without delay. ~AM

  10. I live in New York, and my five-year-old son is asthmatic, and goes to a school with 1000 other kids. My husband told him this morning that another flu was going around, and reminded him about the importance of washing hands. Yeah, we’re rattled. But not panicked, yet.

  11. I haven’t mentioned it to them although they’ve no doubt heard my husband and I discussing it. At this point, we’re in the “wait and see” mode. We’re certainly due for a pandemic, but that doesn’t mean this is it either.
    Let’s see…we’ve got pestilence, war, famine and economic crisis. Aren’t those the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Ooh yeah. Bring it on.

  12. My husband’s coworker is coming home from Cancun this week. I made him promise not to shake his hand.

    Other than that, we’re pretty much just going to do some extra hand washing. I’m not one to run my son to the doctor for every sniffle but I’ll probably be more diligent about getting him in if need be.

    I saw where the European version of the CDC recommended that Europeans not travel to North America or Mexico for now. I never thought I’d live in a place that was considered unsafe for travel so that was a bit an eye-opener to the potential for this to be serious.

    However, we aren’t really worried yet. And no, I’m not really saying anything to my son. He’s a worrier.

  13. I’m not a worrier, and I don’t want my kids to worry, so we’ve mentioned it to them and no more. They are going to school. My husband went to work. Life continues on as normal. It may sound trite, but I truly believe that every day we live is in God’s hands. Not that I won’t take precautions–I’ve always been a good hand-washer–but I’m not going to unnecessarily worry. I can’t do a thing about it, and worrying won’t add a day to my life, so why bother?

    We just began planning a summer trip over the weekend–to the east coast. I won’t let the remote possibility of catching a disease stop me from taking time with our family. I came home from Brazil once with the nastiest of bacterial infections, but do I wish I hadn’t gone? No way!

    My level of concern? Hardly any (watch, I’ll be the one to get it!). It reminds me of the bird flu “epidemic” of a couple of years ago. Do I think about it? Yes. Do I worry about it? No.

  14. I’m not sure…

    I just found out our small group is cancelled tonight–host has the flu. Wouldn’t be a big deal except she went to Mexico with a group from church for spring break.

    I am planning to ask at DS’s school if they’re going to ask kids who call in sick if they went to Mexico over spring break. I think if there’s any chance that it is the swine flu someone has, they need to be seen and not just ride it out the way we so often do with this kind of thing.

    I won’t be telling my kids much of anything because they’re only 3 and 6. We don’t typically have the news on around them, so I don’t think they’d be aware of anything going on. They already know we keep them home when they’re sick and we stay away from friends when they’re sick, so on a practical level it won’t change much. I don’t think I’ll be taking them to the childcare at the gym for the rest of the week or so though.

  15. Interesting that you should ask. I had actually started writing a post today on this subject and it remains to be seen if I publish it. I have some pretty strong opinions that aren’t mainstream. Like NOT eating pork products at all. Ever. I quit eating pork about 25 years ago when I started studying nutrition. A strong immune system is paramount to resisting this flu or any other strain of the flu.

    My level of concern is not very high. My kids are grown so that part is not an issue. I’m sure I’d talk to them about it in the same way I’ve given them a gazillion health lectures over the years.

  16. We are leaving for Cancun tomorrow…with a group of six other parents. Between us we have nine children with ages ranging from 17 thru 6.

    We are working on getting our Tamiflu prescriptions as recommended by the CDC. Other than that we’ll just be careful.

    This trip has been planned for a long time. I want to be careful and prudent – but I also don’t want to buy into their panic.

    * * *

    Via con Dios. Be safe and be well. ~AM

  17. I’m not very concerned. We do talk about the importance of hand-washing, coughing/sneezing etiquette, and healthy eating habits. I do think it is important to be aware of the risks, but also think that the media tends to over play these situations.

  18. Well, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law just came back from a vacation in Mexico and spent the night last night but I am not concerned. After many years working in child care, I just don’t worry about illness. I keep informed and take precautions but do not panic. The kids I work with at school were very freaked out about it because of their parents concern- one girl said her dad told her to wash her hands every 10 minutes! As for my own boy, he naturally wanted to know about a flu coming from a pig but as soon as I told him about it, he was on to the next exciting thing. I think we need to take precautions such as handwashing and remain calm.

  19. Monkey is too little for me to discuss with him (19 months). But I will say honestly that I’m a little nervous. We waited for SOOO long to get this guy (and now his brother on the way), that I think I’m just naturally paranoid about ANYTHING that would/could harm my child(ren). I know being pregnant, I’ve already got a weaker immune system, so I’m being pretty diligent about washing hands as it is. Maybe it’s because I’m a first-time mom? Maybe it’s because going through years of infertility and pregnancy loss I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop? Maybe because I’m naturally a worrier? I don’t know. But there it is. If I had a plan to visit Mexico, it’d be cancelled. I feel the need to apologize for my worrying, but I won’t. I’m in charge of my health and my baby’s health, nobody else. If it blows over being nothing, what harm have I done?

  20. We are telling the kids to be more diligent with hand-washing at school (we are in Oklahoma and a LOT of families at our school have relatives that are in and out of Mexico constantly). Otherwise, I’m just not going to pout as much that I’ll be too broke this Fall, yet again, to have a nice vacation in Mexico.

  21. I don’t have kids yet, which may skew my perspective, but I think it’s only something to KNOW about at this point and if it continues to spread, THEN it is something to WORRY about. I know that there was a 1976 epidemic of swine flu predicted that never came to pass, and I know that more problems arose as a result of the widespread panic-driven vaccinations people received in order to avoid the swine flu epidemic that never happened. And I know that those vaccinations cost the CDC director at the time his job, several people their lives, and many many people their livelihoods and/or health.

    Given that history, it makes me think that flu, as a virus, is a difficult thing to vaccinate for and that we’re better off just being aware that it’s out there than we are freaking out about it.

    * * *

    I think you are right about the not freaking out part of the equation. I do think, though, about the idea of waiting until it spreads — someone has to be those people to whom it spread before others do anything. Maybe they’ll wish they had freaked out just a little before hand? I don’t know. I never have answers, only questions….

  22. I am exposed, on a daily basis, to the various and sundry body fluids/germs/amoebas of middle school aged children. . .11-14-ish. . .so I don’t worry much about The Germs. I guess right now we will just wait and see what becomes of the whole thing. Lots of lessons to learn along the way.

  23. I don’t have children, so obviously that’s not a concern. I am paying attention to the news more than usual. The only thing that I am concerned about is whether or not I need to start postponing my Enbrel injections. We don’t have any cases in our state, etc… so for now, I’m proceeding, but if it does seem to spread more, I might lay off my injections (because they supress my immune system)

  24. I’m not worried at all. Of course, common sense prevails, and those practices that go along with it.

    I haven’t told my kids about it, because their worlds are complicated enough. Between make-believe and “doing school,” they’re swamped. 🙂

  25. I teach first grade in Austin ISD. The district sent us the warnings and preventative measures today. Had parents send REALLY large bottles of hand sanitizer to school, so we are using those often. Heard of the nearby school district that was closed for the week because of a few reported cases. Just keeping my eye on the situation and keeping those hands clean and off of each other. That’s life in the incubator called “classroom”.

  26. I am not very worried, yet. From everything that I have heard, the people in the US that have contracted the flu are experiencing very mild cases. For now I am viewing it like any other flu strain. We will continue to take our vitamins, eat a healthy/nutrient rich diet and diligently wash our hands.

    As a rule, I try to avoid using hand sanitizer. I am one of those crazy people who think that a certain amount of germs are actually good for us. I also believe that using too much hand sanitizer or other antibacterial products actually harms our immune systems. I also refuse to get a flu shot. There are over 3,000 strains of flu and the shot only protects against a few. Those odds just don’t add up in my mind.

    On the flip side, I have a stash of essential oils that I use constantly. I am always mixing up some sort of concoction to use to prevent us from catching colds, strep, or the flu.

    To date, my family has stayed very healthy. With the exception of one cold this past winter, we have all been illness free for many years. We are very fortunate that our immune systems are strong and we don’t have to deal with any chronic illness.

    My son, who is eight, is aware of what is going on. My husband and I have told him not to worry and that he needs to make sure he washes his hands… especially when he is at school.

  27. I am stocking up on groceries, so that if/when it hits here I can stay home and still eat cookies! Oh, and other healthy stuff . . .

  28. No children, but it has changed some shopping around. James and I are occasional carnivores so eating pork is not a big issue with us. I was dismayed today, however, to hear that a US company in Mexico is being linked to the outbreak. Encourages us even more to “vote with our dollar” and eat as locally as possible.

  29. I don’t have children, so no worries there. I’m also not too concerned from a health standpoint right now. I live in Egypt, due to my husband’s job with the U. S. State Department. My only concern right now is that we’re scheduled to go back to the States for R&R soon. We’ll be visiting relatives and friends in four different states–each separated by a flight. And I have started coming down with a cold. So I’m more concerned about travel logistics if people think I have the flu (I don’t).

  30. I haven’t discussed anything with my 4.5 year old, I let her live in ignorant bliss (except for having to wash because of the invisible germs).

    But while I’m not freaked yet, I’m in watchful and alert mode: the town next door where we do her preschool, and where we shop and my husband delivers stuff, is a college town and has a high Mexican immigrant population. I don’t know how many have been doing Spring Break or visiting relatives recently!

  31. My nearly 18 year old son was working it last night. He was trying to convince me that it was foolish, FOOLISH I TELL YOU, for him to be at school with the swine flue going around. It was imperative that he be allowed to skip school indefinitely.
    I’m very worried about it but I see danger at every turn. So far, there have been no cases reported here in Illinois.

    So I just told my son to try washing his hands a lot. At school.

    My daughter? She hadn’t heard about it yet. She has more important things to worry about – new learner’s permit, the new colors of flip flops at Old Navy, straigtening her hair, finding the perfect eye liner….

  32. My son is 18 months and I did notice at our Gymboree classes attendance was way down this week. It could have nothing to do with swine flu concerns but I would not blame parents for staying home. I kept my little guy home a lot when he was born and we were headed into flu and cold season. We were lucky to be able to do that and he has never had a serious cold. Now he is older and we have to be out and about. We will just wash hands like crazy and be a little quicker to see a doctor if one of us is not feeling well. So far no cases here in Georgia but lots of people here go to Mexico for vacations or are from there and travel back and forth. I am sure some cases will pop up soon.

  33. So far, I’m not really worried. Concerned, yes, but worried no. And I am a worrier, I might add. I know where you are, it may be a bit more of a worry since you are so close to the border. I just pray for my kids and their families to stay healthy. And leave it in God’s hands.

  34. We haven’t talked with the kids about it, but hubby and I did agree that maybe we shouldn’t take the San Diego trip we were considering!

  35. My son is only 11 months old, so I haven’t told him about it because he wouldn’t care. 😉 I’m not worried now, but I guess I’d be slightly more concerned than usual if he started acting sick — meaning I’d probably take him in pretty quickly instead of just riding it out like we normally do. We’re mostly pretty healthy folks, and I figure there’s no sense worrying if we’re already taking reasonable precautions.

  36. I’m more concerned that here is a virus that is a cocktail of a variety of flu viruses….uhm…how did that happen? Fluke? I don’t know. So for us, rattled, but not freaking out. Told the kids about it so to be extra careful about washing hands….but they’re boys. What to do?!

  37. I’m just being a little more diligent in hand washing and the vitamins with my grandson, he doesn’t know why, just thinks grandma is being a pain.

    We have a suspected case in our town though…the college kids are back from break and some went to Mexico. Now that does scare me some. It’s curious though why the cases are milder in the US…

  38. I think the cases are milder in the US than in Mexico because health care is looked at and handled differently here. I would venture to say that the death cases in Mexico are folks that didn’t go to the doctor early enough. Whereas here in the US, we get to the doctor a little more quickly when we’re ill. Not to mention the healthcare officials are now LOOKING for and testing for swine flu specifically, so early detection has a lot to do with it.

  39. As soon as I told my daughter yesterday, she said, I’m beginning to feel ill. We thought it is interesting how when you know something may be going around you seem to feel it. I reassured her that she has allergies and it’s the time of the year to start Zyrtec. But it alerted me to the perceptions of panic they may have, so I’m curbing the continual talk and only giving explanations as necessary. Sounds somewhat like the balance the governments are trying to find with citizens.

  40. Well, I just heard about it and I came down with a cold. Hacking caugh.

    I’m staying home today from an event that means the world to me BUT I don’t want to spread this cold.

    I got it from a friend who has been hacking for a long time.

    I wouldn’t tell a child as young as Sean. Today I would assume the classroom and school has the hand santizer everywhere. You are closer to the source Mexico than I am but it is my job to care for my children not scare them. I remember the Asian Flu and the Hong Kong Flu and there was another biggie. It will be in our flu shots within a year or so.

    Poor pigs. They take a bum rap. I’m in the middle of pig country and they aren’t allowed to wallow anymore like they use to. Even back then, the people I knew took better care of them than the cats and dogs they had as pets.

    Common sense I guess is called for.

  41. Wash your hands wash your hands!! Don’t drink after ANYONE!!! Just your general rules. My Aunt is coming to SE TX from NY in a few weeks and may cancel her trip because of it.

  42. I’m not telling them anything until they ask about it. Thankfully, we can tell them that those people who have it in the U.S. have so far been able to get better. I learned not to volunteer information until asked for it. When those wildfires were raging just north of here a couple of weeks ago, my oldest was convinced she saw flames everywhere. So I won’t talk about it until she asks about it.

    As for level of concern, I will be watching the news and be mindful of our general health, but I’m not too worried right now. And I wish I had a trip to Mexico to reconsider. Since we don’t have travel plans, we don’t have to make any changes.

  43. We’re not changing a thing. We have always been sticklers for hand-washing and proper precautionary techniques. As for the scare mongering going on, we’ve shown our kids how to get past the rhetoric and hype to get down to facts. Compared to deaths caused by automobile accidents or work-related injury, this “pandemic” is of minor concern.

  44. While I understand and appreciate those worried about this flu (or any flu) with children or adults with poor immune systems, I find it very strange that WHO would be talking about a pandemic when under 100 people worldwide have died. I was under the impression that a pandemic was a global catastrophe where thousands to hundreds of thousands die. I’m not diminishing the deaths, but the media is freaking people out for unnecessary reasons and I’m starting to see the “anti-Mexican” sentiments pop up again. BTW: I live in Southern Arizona.

    I seriously believe that the govt. should reinstate those “Disney on the Front Lines” movie shorts—let Pixar do them and get rid of the obvious stereotypes. One of my favorites is about why one should control their emotions. Totally relevant to this day.

    PS: Does anyone remember that 80s movie “The Day After?” I was about 7 or 8 when that came out and Nuclear War terrified me growing up and a lot of it was due to that movie.

  45. I’ve told ’em not to worry and to wash their hands. And I’ve also stopped watching the news around them. problem solved!

  46. My oldest is 12 and noticed the news on MSN before I did. I was glad that nobody in the US has died and they have seen the poverty in Mexico so accepted those explantations.

    One thing I would think twice about is going to the Dr.’s or hospital (even to visit) unless we really needed to. Those are good places to pick up any new germ.

  47. I am somewhat concerned. For the most part, it seems the CDC doesn’t issue warnings without knowing more than they tell; the mildness of the cases reported so far may or may not tell the whole story.

    We’ll definitely be increasing our hand-washing & germ-killing diligence here in WI, as well as fortifying with more vitimins:

    -Lots of migrant workers from Mexico arrive here this time of year.

    -My 20 yr old son who has a weak immune system will be traveling home soon from 9 mos in Nicaragua where he did not have access to good nutrition. He plays soccer with the Mexican League here & therefore will likely be exposed (…a whole lot of body-to-body sweat contact.)

    Having said that, we know in the end our wellness or sickness rests in the Hands of our Maker and Sustainer.

  48. What people do not realize, is that this is not the regular flu, it is a mutated virus. It is more contagious and more deadly than the regular flu. It does not work like the regular flu and does not only attack people with weak immune systems. It actually attacks healthy immune systems by putting them into overdrive. This is why the affected group has been healthy young adults. WHO speaks about a pandemic because virally speaking, the mutation step from animal-human to human-human is large. A pandemic usually starts small like this, before it grows exponentially.

    The reason why there have not been more deaths in the US, is that it is responding to two heavy flu medicines, tamiflu included. BUT if there is a break-out like the regular flu, the real danger is that there will be a shortage in tamiflu supply. That is what you need to worry about. In Mexico, where the virus went untreated, they are thinking the deathrate is about 7%, that is exceptionally high!

    In my opinion, this is cause for great concern. Luckily we work from home, but if I had kids I would definitely keep them home, especially here in Texas. When I go out I am extremely careful not to touch my face and use purell when coming back to the car. I find the people that are still going to Mexico with their children irresponsible, there is a travel advisory not to travel to Mexico unless you have to. They might be endangering their children and others. Prescriptions for preventive tamiflu, that we are in short supply of, will not be given out for much longer.

  49. The people who are actually dying of swine flu are dying because of severe pneumonia related complications, because it is a respiratory illness. Mexico city is high altitude and has some of the worst air quality in the world.

    Swine flu isn’t going to kill people who have healthy immune systems, healthy lungs, and a clean environment, it will just be like any other cold or flu to them.

    Not worried at all. Also not giving my children cough suppressants so that whatever guck is in their lungs will actually come out with the coughing and not become pneumonia, but then, I always do that.

    Oh, and I live in CA, in a county with more than 13 reported cases so far.

  50. funny you should ask. the high school we feed to is closed here in CA. So we have a case (now 4 I hear) very nearby. we have to talk to our kids about it, becuz our schools are. Many of the kids in our school have siblings at the high school so we need to have answers since the questions are there already.

    the kids know they are supposed to wash their hands and cough/sneeze into their elbows (not their hands). They already do sanitizer before and after recess and snack, so not a big deal on those fronts. My kids know there’s a flu going around and that we’re trying to be careful not to catch it.
    I have a 3YO and debated about sending her to preschool this week; aka-the germ factory. But I decided unless we have many more cases I’m going to keep sending her. We opted not to go to the mall, library or park since those places are not cleaned as often. My Physical Therapy office has Clorox wipes & a sign asking you to wipe down equipment after each use, and people were doing it.

    We aren’t in a panic, but we are paying attention. If my kids have symptoms I will get them to the dr, as asked, instead of waiting to see if it gets worse.

  51. I think I’ve hit every extreme on this issue–lighthearted humor all the way to full-blown panic. We just briefly mentioned that there was a sickness going around, and that the kids should be extra-diligent about washing their hands. But all my worst fears and control issues come up every time I learn a little bit more about the potential pandemic. Honestly, it’s very difficult for me to trust God at a time like this. Hubs is all ready to pack it up for Glory Land, but I’m all like, WHO’S GONNA TAKE CARE OF MY KIDS? (Not to mention something happening to them, oh have mercy on us all…)

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