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Few parents will not be concerned about the continuing global spread of swine flu, or H1N1 virus to give it its proper name. Already swine flu has led to the deaths of a number of babies and toddlers and there is every reason that parents will be concerned. Governments around the world are issuing advice, and it is worth heeding some simple precautions to minimise the risk to your own children.
Key advice is to ensure that you catch sneezes with tissues and dispose of them straight away. This is simple advice during any cold or flu season. You and your children should also wash your hands after sneezing, and after going to the toilet - again advice that sits well under normal conditions too. Advice is also that you should NOT be tempted to hold 'swine flu parties'. When chicken-pox hits your community, it is not uncommon to expose children to sufferers in order that they catch it to get it 'over and done with' and build lifelong immunity. Swine flu comes with no guarantees that immunity now will protect against future mutations of the H1N1 virus, and governments are urging to contain the flu spread as best as possible.
If your child appears to be sneezing and have a cold, don't panic - swine flu is a classic flu and if your child has it, you will know it. Symptoms are shaking chills, high temperature and fever - hot and cold flushes - and muscle aches and pains. Flu is followed by a cough and sore throat later. If you think your children have caught the flu then of course, do seek urgent medical advice - there are good treatments in Tamiflu and Relenza that will help reduce the period of attack from the flu, and most of us, toddlers included, will fight the flu naturally with no long term harm.