What parents should know about swine flu

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by By / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 2, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

Video: What parents should know about swine flu

SEATTLE - The outbreak of swine flu has many parents so worried that they're bringing kids to the ER at Seattle Children's with mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

The phones have been ringing at pediatrician's offices too.

"People are asking if I have any idea what the risk is," said Dr. Ellen Passloff, of Northwest Pediatrics.

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Dr. Janet Englund, who works in infectious diseases at Seattle Children's, is a University of Washington professor of pediatrics. She says most families shouldn't worry.

"Children who don't have a fever are not at risk," Englund said. "And children who have been in an airport for an hour or two, where other people had the swine flu, we do not think that those children are at risk."

But she says kids are more apt to spread flu, and more likely to be hospitalized than adults.

If a young child shows symptoms such as fever over 100 degrees, cough, headache, or sore throat give your pediatrician a call. They can test for possible swine flu.

When twins Robby and Jacob Lowman came down with the regular winter flu in March it was double trouble. So their mother is keeping a close eye on swine flu developments.

"I watch and read everything I can on that flu, because I don't want it in our house," Cindy Lowman said.

Robby tested positive for Type A flu, which led to pneumonia. That landed him at Seattle Children's for five days.

One of his treatments was the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

"Jacob also went on it and so did I, and so did my mom and dad," Cindy Lowman said.

The drug works against swine flu. Right now Englund is leading a study to find the right dose for babies.

"For children between the ages of 0 and three months we're still a little careful because we don't know exactly how to dose the medicine," she said. "But absolutely for children three months and up we are using the antiviral drugs to treat influenza, mainly however in hospitalized children or children who have pretty significant symptoms."

Right now it's more important than ever to remind kids to cover their coughs and wash their hands. And keep them home from school or daycare if they're sick.

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