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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

What Is Being Done To Prevent H1N1?

PCAST (President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) recommends several key steps to preventing H1N1:
  • All manufacturers (there are five) of the vaccine have been asked to prepare and deliver the vaccine as quickly as possible.
  • The DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) has been asked to upgrade national systems to track the virus - so decisions can be made quickly, if need be.
  • Schools are encouraging families to keep kids home until 24 hours after symptoms are gone.
  • Schools have implemented stringent guidelines for hand washing that families can reinforce - always washing hands after using the restroom, and washing hands or using sanitizer before leaving and upon entering classrooms, as well as before and after eating.
  • PCAST has also recommended that the DHHS work with schools to develop plans in case schools have to be closed.
  • PCAST recommended CDC engage in traditional media as well as social marketing channels given the propensity of the 2009 H1N1 virus to infect young people. In response, the CDC emergency twitter already has over 300,000 followers and intends to use Facebook, MySpace and bloggers to share information.
Bottom line - families, schools, and the health system can all do their share. If every member of your family has not had their seasonal flu vaccine get it now and find out when the H1N1 vaccine will be available. My understanding is that the very young, the old, and children and teens in schools (and colleges) will be the highest risk groups, therefore eligible for the earliest vaccines.
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.