Officials: Swine flu targeting children

September 21, 2009 9:10:23 PM PDT
The swine flu is targeting children and forcing many of them out of the classroom as they recover.That's why parents got an education in the swine flu Monday night. They took part in "Flu 101" at Ravenscroft High School in Raleigh to get answers about the virus that keeps spreading.

"What's the difference between that and the other flu's that we have," parent Clinton Duncan asked.

"And how it's transmitted and what precautions can be taken to prevent it," parent Skipper Day added.

There were plenty of questions on the minds of about 50 parents who attended Flu 101-a question and answer session set up in the wake of the rising number of suspected H1N1 cases.

A state epidemiologist told Eyewitness News they have seen double the cases of what they see in a regular flu season, and the number is expected to keep growing.

"We have another son that was here who's a junior at NC State now, that had his spleen removed in the tenth grade so that's a concern, because the spleen protects a lot of viruses that go on and we have to be protective of him," Day said.

WakeMed doctor Peter Morris said H1N1 is different than other flu's.

"For years you've heard us say that it's seniors who need to get their seasonal flu vaccinations, but H1N1 tends to have a predilection for the younger population," Dr. Morris said.

"The first thing on (kids) mind is not necessarily washing their hands all the time, using sanitizer, so just trying to instill in them good hygiene habits," parent Penny Rogers said.

Healthcare workers from WakeMed advise parents to keep all hands washed, cover all coughs and have children and pregnant women get the swine flu vaccine when they arrive in October.

The state epidemiologist also told Eyewitness News swine flu cases will run through the regular flu season, making it miserable for many kids and many adults before the spring.

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