Teaching 911 Basics

30 10 2009

Teaching our kids to call 911 can be as important to their health and the health of others as teaching them the importance of good nutrition and how to stop-drop-and-roll. And just like stop-drop-and-roll, we must teach them not just the ‘when’, but the ‘how’ of it, until it becomes second nature.

Consider teaching a 911 mini-class to your kids at least once a day for three days, then quizzing every other day, then quizzing about once a week.  By that time, the routine should be stuck in their heads.

Here’s some suggested text for your lesson plan:

If there is an emergency, dial 9-1-1 from a telephone. An emergency is when a person is badly hurt or in danger ‘right now.’ An emergency is if you see a crime happening, like a person hurting another person or someone breaking into someone’s house, or a fire somewhere a fire shouldn’t be. An emergency is if someone is suddenly very sick, having a hard time speaking or breathing.

An emergency isn’t something like forgetting your homework or arguing with a brother or sister.

Go to a safe place to call. If there’s a fire, leave the building first. Get away from the person hurting you or someone else, then call 911.

It’s normal to feel afraid or nervous about it, grownups often feel the same way. Call anyway. The people answering the phone will understand.

It’s OK to make a mistake. If you call 911, stay on the line and tell them why you called. It’s OK to tell them you think it might not be an emergency after all. If you start the call, but hang up before someone has a chance to answer, the 911 operators might think you are still in danger.

*****

Help them prepare. Teach them their address and phone number and explain what to expect when the operator picks up the phone, and that they should stay on the phone until the operator tells them it’s time to hang up.

Role-play the scenario with them so that the first time they call 911 won’t necessarily feel like the first time. The 911 dispatcher will ask these questions:

  • What is the emergency?
  • What happened?
  • Where are you?
  • Who needs help?
  • Are you safe where you are?

When you role-play, give your children a turn both as the caller and the 911 operator. Practicing these skills with your children will help them be more confident, feel safer and be safer.

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World Pneumonia Day

28 10 2009

World Pneumonia Day logoMore young children die from pneumonia each year than from any other single cause—including war, famine, or any other disease.

How did this happen?  It’s preventable and treatable. How did we get to where we are today while allowing this to continue?

We lose a child to pneumonia every 15 seconds, a total of 2 million children a year.  That’s unacceptable.

We know how to fight back against pneumonia, but we just aren’t doing it. Children’s lives can be saved by increasing vaccination, antibiotic treatment, and breastfeeding and by practicing thorough, frequent handwashing and reducing indoor air pollution

November 2nd is the first annual World Pneumonia Day. A global coalition has formed to take on this killer. It is our hope that, if we all pitch in, we’ll swiftly work ourselves out of a job.

 Save the breath and the life of a child. Please join us.

  • Visit the World Pneumonia Day website for more information.
  • Join the cause on Facebook to spread the word about this disease. Ask your friends to do the same.
  • Contact your elected officials, make sure they know the facts about pneumonia, and encourage them to take action.
  • Donate funds to provide vaccines or to train community health workers to reach families in need who are too far from clinics.

Do one of these things, or do them all. Do something and save a child.



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Two Sisters, One Virus (H1N1)

21 10 2009

My teenage daughter is recovering from H1N1. For weeks, I’ve pressed an ear against her thin, little chest (No, dear, I don’t mean “little” in that way) listening for the slightest gurgle or wheeze.

I’ve hovered countless times, peering into her eyes, looking for the slightest hesitation, and asked, “Are you having any trouble breathing?”

She has, so far, answered no.

Younger days

Younger days

She coughs phlegmatically, yet produces little phlegm.  She sniffs, but no longer wants to blow her sore, red nose.  Her fever, aches, diarrhea, chills, fatigue, and sore throat have all gone away.

She’s…fine.  Yet, I still hover and query as she grows more impatient with my ministration.

I can’t help it.  I’m her mom.

My 10-year-old remained healthy throughout her sister’s bout with H1N1, but I had to get her vaccinated.  We’re big on vaccines in this house.  We prefer a poke in the arm or spray up the nose to days or weeks of feeling miserable.

When my teen became infected, the H1N1 vaccine had just come out but couldn’t be found in our area.  I was determined to track it down for my youngest.  The county health department wasn’t much help.  The pediatric clinic my girls go to, the largest in our town, said it had not received any and didn’t know when they would.

A couple of days ago, I realized that I had failed to ask the clinic if they knew who did have the vaccine.  I called and was told they’d received a surprise shipment that morning from the health department.  They were vaccinating for that one day only and would stop at 4pm.  It was 3:10 and my daughter was somewhere close, on her way home, bouncing on the back seat of the school bus because that’s where fifth graders get to sit.

She finally got home and we jumped in the car, arriving at the clinic about 3:30 p.m.  Because the parking lot was full in front, we had to park in the back forty, hike to the building, and climb through some bushes to get to an entry.  Which we did–in a hurry–with me pushing or pulling her the entire way.

The line at the pediatric desk was long and slow.  I kept glancing at the clock while shifting from foot to foot.  The line was not moving.

In a loud voice, I asked if the H1N1 clinic was in this office and if it was really closing at 4 p.m.  Whispered conferences were held behind the desk and someone said the clinic was two floors up, but they were out of vaccine.  Being a mom, I shouldered my way to the front of the line and explained that this couldn’t possibly be because the woman on the phone told me they would be vaccinating until 4 p.m. and we had another 20 minutes.

The whisperers disappeared into the back.  Mutterings were heard, but not deciphered.

After four minutes, a head appeared around the corner and said they were still vaccinating in room 330.

We rushed to the elevators.  I just stopped myself from butting in front of a woman who was slowly moving forward with the aid of her walker.

Shortly after, and with five minutes to spare, I watched my youngest get vaccine sprayed up her nose.

I know that some parents are worried about the vaccine.

It was made quickly, and that makes parents wonder.  I had some questions for a few scientists when the vaccine came out, which they answered, and I realized that, although the vaccine was made quickly, it did go through clinical trials.  It was made the same way the seasonal influenza vaccine is made each year.  It’s effective and it’s safe.

I’ve seen both sides of this rotten H1N1–one child infected, the other protected.  There is no doubt as to which I prefer.

(This personal account was provided by Trish Parnell, a very relieved mom.)

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H1N1 Q&A Guide Available

16 10 2009

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center created an H1N1 Q & A guide a couple of days ago. It’s a nice, clear document that we think you will find helpful.





H1N1 Vaccine Information Sheets (Spanish)

7 10 2009

H1N1 Inactivated Vaccine VIS – Inactivada

H1N1 LAIV VIS – Viva atenuada





H1N1 Vaccine Information Sheets!

2 10 2009

H1N1 Inactivated Vaccine VIS
H1N1 LAIV VIS


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H1N1 Update

1 10 2009

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC spoke today on H1N1 infections, vaccines, and antivirals.  Here are some notes to catch us up on the news of the day:

  • There’s substantial flu illness in most of country – in most all of the states, which is unusual for this time of year.
  • As of late August, there were about 100 pregnant women in the U.S. who required ICU hospitalization for H1N1, and 28 had died.
  • Antiviral medications can be important for pregnant women.  Getting vaccinated is an important way to protect oneself, although pregnant women cannot use the live attenuated vaccine, only the inactivated vaccine, so no nasal spray, only shots.
  • In the general population, bacteria have had an important role in some of the fatal cases.  Of the 77 cases of H1N1 deaths that have been reviewed, about one-third could have been prevented with a pneumococcal vaccine.  Check with your providers to see if this is something you or your loved ones should get.
  • HHS Secretary Sebelius released to the states 300,000 courses of liquid Tamiflu for children, and each state that needs their portion of that supply will receive it.  Texas and Colorado have already received theirs.  The expiration dates on some of this product have passed, but the FDA tested them and determined they were safe and effective and extended the expiration dates.
  • People with severe illness can benefit from antivirals, and those with symptoms whose underlying conditions may cause a more serious course of H1N1 disease should get antivirals.   See Flu Essentials at flu.gov for warning signs of serious illness.
  • The H1N1 vaccine effort has moved into the implementation phase.  States and large cities that are part of the program started to place orders yesterday, with 25 sites placing orders for about 600,000 doses of vaccine.
  • In the future, every Friday, CDC will provide updates through Wednesday of that week on how much H1N1 vaccine is available, how much has shipped out, and to what location it has shipped.
  • Right now they are shipping out the live attenuated vaccine only.  Rumors are going around that healthcare workers cannot receive the live attenuated, but if they are under 50 years of age with no chronic medical conditions, they should be able to receive it.
  • Dr. Schuchat made it clear that for H1N1 vaccine manufacture, safety was the top priority.  No corners were cut in production.  It was produced exactly as seasonal influenza vaccine is produced with even more clinical trials.

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