When planning for a pandemic, there's one item you should be sure not to leave off the list: the kids. But a recent report suggests that's exactly what's happening.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Trust for America's Health, children are being left out of pandemic flu planning around the world. Even the U.S. flu plan does not fully address how to care for children if we have a pandemic.
Making matters worse, since 2003, nearly half of the more than 200 people who have died from H5N1 bird flu -- the strain scientists have considered being the greatest pandemic threat -- have been younger than age 19. Children are more at risk for contagious diseases, including the flu, because they have less immunity. They also are more likely to spread the virus because they come in close contact with other children.
To improve flu planning for kids, the report recommends that the U.S. government:
*include pediatricians in pandemic flu planning;
*test vaccines, medicine and medical equipment to make sure they work and are safe for children;
*store enough vaccine and medicines to treat at least 25 percent of children in the United States -- about 18.4 million people;
*teach children in school to wash their hands, cover their mouth when they cough and other ways to prevent viruses from spreading; and
*figure out what would happen if schools close for a long period of time.
If you are worried about what you can do to keep your kids safe from infections, check out this Q&A from APHA experts with tips you can use.
What special planning have you done to protect your children? Let us know by clicking the "comment" button below, and sharing your experiences!