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Swine flu (H1N1) in children

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Swine flu (H1N1), also referred to as pig flu is expected to become more active in the fall, just as seasonal influenza does as well. What symptoms are there? Is there a vaccine for children? These questions and more are being asked by concerned parents.

How can a child catch swine flu (H1N1)?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), swine flu is a contagious virus that was originally thought to be the same as one found in pigs. However, the H1N1 strain of pig flu in the most recent outbreaks of 2009 is a mutated version of the virus that is transmitted from person to person. It has not been evidenced that it is being transmitted through pork or pork products.

What are the symptoms of swine flu (H1N1)?

The AAP and the CDC state that symptoms of the 2009 swine flu (H1N1) in children can be mild or serious. They are very similar to symptoms of seasonal influenza. They include nausea, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, chills, irritability and fatigue, sore throat, coughing, and body aches.

More serious symptoms include unresponsiveness or inability to wake up, no urination, crying without tears, quick or troublesome breathing, grayish or bluish skin tone, not drinking enough fluids, and any other abnormal actions or symptoms.

Does the influenza vaccination work for swine flu (H1N1)?

No. The seasonal influenza vaccine available each year will not protect your child from the 2009 swine flu (H1N1) virus. Swine flu is a mutated strain of the influenza virus, which seasonal flu shots have not proven to protect against.

How can my child receive a swine flu (H1N1) immunization?

Studies are still being done regarding children and the swine flu vaccine. Therefore it is not yet available as of the time and date of this writing. As with other vaccinations, your child's doctor is a good place to start for information. Once the vaccine emerges from the testing phase and becomes available for children, it will be available in various settings, such as pharmacies, health clinics, private practices, workplaces, and more. The US Centers for Disease Control will always have the most updated health information. Their website,, has a special section dedicated to the swine flu vaccination that will be updated as necessary.

How dangerous is the swine flu to my child?

Children who are younger than 5 and those with chronic conditions, such as asthma and heart disease, are in the group of children at the worst risk when contracting swine flu. Also included are pregnant women and people over 65 or with chronic disease and conditions. Swine flu can be potentially dangerous to anyone, but it is predicted that most will experience only mild symptoms, such as with seasonal influenza. Although risks may turn out mild for some, children who are suspected to have swine flu should see a doctor for an evaluation. Tests will be done and if necessary, influenza medications may be prescribed.

How can I keep my child safe from swine flu (H1N1)?

Washing hands often and coughing or sneezing into tissues rather than into the air can help prevent germs from spreading. Children also should be encouraged not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. Also, be sure to keep your child away from other sick people and animals. If your child is sick, keep him or her home to help avoid infecting others. If you or others in the home are sick, try to keep the sick person as isolated from others as possible. Once the swine flu vaccination becomes available, it is recommended that children get the vaccine.


*Note that the author is not a licensed medical professional and the above is intended for informational purposes. Always contact a licensed medical professional for matters pertaining to your health.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons;Public Domain



  • Anna Sanclement-Ft Lauderdale Science News Examine 5 years ago

    Excellent resource! Thank you for this info as we have a small child and were wondering about a swine flu vaccine. It's a good idea to wash hands regularly as you state, prevention is the best thing to strive for.

  • Jenny Wagner - Charlotte Interior Improvement Exam 5 years ago

    Thanks so much for the info. I have two boys in school, and there are germs all over those schools!

  • jaipi 5 years ago

    nice work!

  • CJMathis-Portland Getaways Examiner 5 years ago

    Great work on this one.

  • Vincent Summers - Norfolk Kitchen Science Examiner 5 years ago

    Good coverage. The flu (all varieties) promises nothing good this year. It's already here and it's not even cold out!

  • Andrew Kennett, Columbus Outdoor Recreation 5 years ago

    Nice information and great presentation!

  • betty malone, Indianapolis Homeschool Examiner 5 years ago

    I think even homeschoolers need to be well informed about this issue. We may not be as exposed to others,,but we get together and share our germs some of the time!

  • Charlotte Kuchinsky 5 years ago

    Great job on this.

  • Lyn Lomasi - Houston Parenting Examiner 5 years ago

    Thanks so much for the awesome and interesting feedback everyone! I agree Betty. While some homeschooled kids may be less at risk of catching it from being inside a school building, many still are out in public on a daily basis.

  • K K Thornton - Dallas Ethnic Foods Examiner 5 years ago

    Fantastic resource. My cousin's son had the swine flu earlier this year: Not fun.

  • Emylou Lewis Seattle Stay-at-home-mom Examiner 5 years ago

    This is great!

  • Maria Roth, KC Family Entertainment Examiner 5 years ago

    Thanks! We're washing our hands like crazy this fall and winter, that's for sure! :)

  • Carol Gibson - Miami Astrology Examiner 5 years ago

    Wonderfully informative.

  • Danielle Williams 5 years ago

    Well, I'm 14 and I'm scared i might have swine flu i have all the symptoms and a fever of 102.5 and I'm going to go to the doctor in about an hour, I'm wandering if i should be worried or it just may be the regular flu like my mom says? =/