H1N1(Swine Flu): Emergency Warning Signs for Children, When to Seek Help; FDA Warns About Online Flu Drugs
EMERGENCY FLU WARNING SIGNS FOR CHILDREN
As flu continues to spread across the US, we continue to hear of children seriously ill and dying. Yes, the disease is mild and deaths are rare but are occurring. Many do have preexisting conditions however 40% are healthy vibrant young people. There are crazy sites about conspiracies and inflammatory comments about the vaccine. It is scary and confusing for parents. Who are you to believe?!? What should you do?
I found myself brought to tears as I read an AP story about a year 5 year old boy, whose name was Max who had just started kindergarten when he developed sniffles and a fever. His mother figured it was only a cold. Three days later, the Antioch, Tenn., boy was dead, apparently from swine flu. Heart breaking is the only thing I can say. Doctors are urging parents to watch for warning signs that the flu has become life-threatening.
Parents must seek immediate help if emergency warning signs develop. In children, these include:
- Fast or troubled breathing.
- Bluish skin color.
- Lack of thirst.
- Failure to wake up easily or interact.
- Irritability so that the child does not want to be held.
- Improvement of symptoms, then a return to fever and worse cough.
- Fever with a rash.
Every parent is asking themselves the question, “How can they protect their kids from H1N1 until the vaccine is widely available?” H1N1 has probably infected hundreds of thousands of youngsters nationwide, but deaths among children are rare. Health officials are keeping track of children’s flu deaths, but they say it’s impossible to count all flu cases. So they don’t know exactly what percentage of children’s infections are fatal.
Many experts say the H1N1 virus does not appear to be more dangerous than other flu strains, but kids have been catching it more easily than seasonal flu. Last week alone, there were 19 new reports of children who died, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the 76 swine flu fatalities since April compare with 68 pediatric deaths from seasonal flu since September 2008.
Parents should also seek medical help if flu symptoms develop in children most vulnerable to flu complications: those younger than 5 or with high-risk conditions, including asthma and other lung problems; cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other neurological diseases; heart, kidney or liver problems; and diabetes.
Kids should get vaccinations for both ordinary flu and swine flu when the vaccine is available, and stay home from school if they are sick. Parents should stress hand-washing and covering coughs. Mild cases should be treated at home with rest and plenty of fluids, but parents should call their doctor if more serious symptoms develop.
FDA WARNS OF BOGUS FLU DRUGS ONLINE
Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning regarding purchasing online drug products. The warning advised people who want to treat pandemic H1N1 influenza or who hope to prevent it should exercise extreme caution when buying products online because many of them are not legitimate.
The FDA ordered several products online and what they received was rarely what was advertised. One order for Tamiflu, for example, arrived in an unmarked envelope postmarked from India. It consisted of unlabeled white tablets taped between two pieces of paper. Analysis showed the tablets were talc and acetaminophen. Other products contained low levels of Tamiflu, but were not licensed for sale in the United States — which means that their manufacture was not conducted under the FDA’s watch.
“Medicines purchased from websites operating outside the law put consumers at increased risk due to a higher potential that the products will be counterfeit, impure, contaminated, or have too little or too much of the active ingredient,” said Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the FDA commissioner. Drugs like Tamiflu that are in high demand are particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting because buyers may be desperate to acquire the product, she added.
To report suspicious or criminal activity to the FDA: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/email/oc/oci/contact.cfm