Information for Parents
HSE Guidelines for the Pandemic
Influenza A(H1N1) 2009 (Swine Flu)
St. Cronan's B.N.S will be following the guidelines as issued by the HSE.
Please read the following articles and we will be happy to answer any questions you have in relation to it.
Frequently asked questions:
Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 (Swine Flu) - Information for Parents
13th August 2009 (Version 1.2)
The following advice is for parents of children in all educational institutions, including crèches, childcare, summer camps, schools and third level institutions. Unless otherwise mentioned ‘educational institution’ applies to all of the above.
Influenza A (H1N1) is a type of flu virus. In the past this virus affected pigs, and only occasionally affected people who had close contact with pigs. The virus has now changed and can spread easily from person to person.
This Influenza A (H1N1) is now called Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 because people all over the world are being infected by it.
Most people infected with this virus have a mild to moderate illness, but some have more severe illness.
In most children, the symptoms of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 are similar to the symptoms of regular flu. They include:
It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the common cold and flu. The main difference is that the symptoms of influenza come on rapidly and are typically accompanied by muscle aches and a fever. The common cold has a more gradual onset and is associated with a runny nose and sneezing.
Full list of differences between Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and the common cold below:
|Symptoms||Pandemic (H1N1) 2009||Common Cold|
(38°C / 100°F or Higher)
|General Aches & Pains||Usual, Often Severe||Rare|
|Fatigue, Weakness||Can be prolonged for a number of
|Extreme Exhaustion||Early & Prominent||Never|
|Cough||Common, can be Severe||Mild to Moderate, Hacking Cough|
|Diarrhoea, Vomiting||Sometimes||Not Associated with Common Cold
Flu virus spreads from person to person mainly through the coughing or sneezing of a sick person. Flu virus may also be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with the virus (for example a tissue or door handle touched by the infected person) and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. This virus is not transmitted by eating pork or pork products.
Two important actions to protect your family
1. Be aware of the symptoms of flu-like illness and know where to seek medical care. See below.
2. Teach your children the following good health habits to help stop spread of germs:
If your child gets sick with a flu-like illness as described above you should:
Risk group is people with:
Teach your child good health habits, as above.
It is important to ensure that all household surfaces that are touched by hands are kept clean, especially bedside tables, surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens and children’s toys. Such surfaces should be wiped regularly with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
Yes, while educational institutions are open parents should send their children there unless they have any symptoms. It is expected that educational institutions will remain open even if there are some children out sick with Pandemic (H1N1) 2009. However, in certain circumstances an educational institution may be advised to close. This decision will be made in the light of expert advice from the local Department of Public Health who will always have the interests of pupils in mind. We urge parents not to withdraw their children unless given this advice.
You will have to make other arrangements for looking after your children. These alternative arrangements should aim to have as few as possible children being cared for together in any setting. If an educational institution is closed due to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 it is important, where possible, that gatherings of those children outside of the educational institution do not occur.
Children who have been infected with Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 have generally recovered without complications but some children have had a severe illness. It is preferable to avoid exposure to the virus if possible. When a vaccine is available this will provide safe immunity for children.
If a student develops flu-like symptoms at their educational institution, arrangements should be made for him/her to be taken home. The student should not return to their educational institution until 7 days from the onset of symptoms have passed.
In relation to other students no further action needs to be taken. Parents and teachers should, however, be vigilant for the symptoms of flu and, at the first signs of these, the child should stay at home and parents should call the HSE Flu Information Line Freephone 1800 94 11 00 or check www.swineflu.ie for advice on what to do next.
Educational institution closures and the distribution of antiviral medicines for prevention are not recommended at this time because the virus is spreading in the community generally. People are likely to be repeatedly exposed to the virus in their everyday lives - closing an educational institution will no longer be effective in slowing the spread of the virus as people could still be exposed outside the educational institution.
In some special circumstances educational institution closures might still be recommended.
No. As long as they are well and not suffering from flu-like symptoms, there is no reason for these students to be kept away from their educational institution and they can carry on with their normal routine. Parents should, however, be vigilant for the symptoms of flu and, at the first signs of these, should stay at home and call the HSE Flu Information Line Freephone 1800 94 11 00 or check www.swineflu.ie for advice on what to do next. If concerned, they should contact their GP or Out-Of-Hours GP service by telephone.
There is no reason why educational institution should not continue to go on trips both in this country and abroad.
If the trip is abroad we recommend that they look at the latest available travel information, if any, on the Department of Foreign Affairs website (www.dfa.ie) and advice on the Department of Health and Children website http://www.dohc.ie
Yes, like parents, educational institutions should encourage and facilitate everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 including:
Educational institutions could put up posters on respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene and ensure that children have access to suitable hand washing facilities. Posters can be found on www.hpsc.ie – educational and childcare settings.
Yes, educational institutions should continue extracurricular activities as normal. If a class/educational institution is advised to close due to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, any extracurricular activities that the class/educational institution would normally do should also cease.
A vaccine is an injection which prevents a person getting a particular disease. It works by strengthening the body’s immune system. The vaccine must be given before the person is infected with the disease.
Vaccine companies are manufacturing a vaccine for Pandemic (H1N1) 2009. The Health Service Executive will provide the vaccine to everyone in the country as soon as sufficient amount of vaccines are available. This may commence as early as autumn but it will take many months to vaccinate all people.
The current seasonal flu vaccine provides little or no protection against the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus. However, anyone recommended to get seasonal flu vaccine should get it this year, as well as the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 vaccine.
Yes, there are medicines known as anti-virals that can be used to treat flu due to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009. However, as most cases of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza will be mild, anti-viral treatment will only be necessary in a small proportion of cases. Doctors will assess each case but the following groups are the ones most likely to require treatment with anti-virals: • Patients who appear to have severe symptoms or • Patients who are in defined high risk groups
Where can I find more information ?
The most accurate public information on the current situation can be found here: