<< Previous Page: Who’s At Risk, Creating a Flu Plan and Being Proactive

Vaccination is key

Most of all, vaccination is the best way to stay healthy, Peacock says. The H1N1 vaccine is safe and effective, as it’s undergone the same type of development and the same level of testing as the annual seasonal flu vaccine.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“We don’t have any expectation that this H1N1 vaccine would be any different from seasonal flu vaccine and we have found that seasonal flu vaccine has been very safe,” she says.

Plus, parents worried about vaccine safety, can always request a preservative-free version of the H1N1 vaccine.

High-risk individuals, caregivers of children under 6 months and those ages 6 months to 24 years are first in line to receive the vaccine, which is currently being distributed across the country.

Peacock advises that children who are at high risk receive the injection version of the vaccine, rather than a nasal spray which includes a live strain of the virus. Both versions should be available beginning this week.

Where to get the vaccine will vary somewhat from state to state. “Most states are going to have it in different places – doctors offices, community health centers, maybe school-based clinics and drugstores – but each state is a little bit different,“ Peacock says.

Take precautions

Know the symptoms of H1N1:

• Fever
• Cough
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Body aches
• Headaches
• Chills
• Fatigue
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting

Pay special attention to children who are at high risk and ask others who interact with the child to do the same.

Make sure you’re alerted if another child at school gets swine flu, for example, as it’s important to keep children who are at high risk separate from other kids who may have symptoms of the H1N1 virus, Peacock says.

If you do get the flu, here’s what to do

Get in touch with your doctor right away if you’re at high risk and develop symptoms of swine flu.

“We know that the medications that work against influenza, such as Tamiflu, they work better if they’re started within the first two days,” Peacock says.