Flu information for infants, children, and women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
On April 26, 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Declared a Public Health Emergency for H1N1 Flu (previously called swine flu). Communities around the world are on alert and are taking measures to protect people from illness caused by infection with this particular type of influenza virus or flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other agencies and organizations are working to provide the most current and accurate information about preventing and treating H1N1 flu. In general, flu prevention involves a vaccine against a particular flu virus. Anti-viral medications are also used to treat and sometimes prevent symptoms of the flu. However, not all vaccines or anti-virals are approved for use in all groups of people.
The NICHD supports and conducts research on some of our more vulnerable community members, including: infants; children; women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding; and people with disabilities. Information about flu prevention and treatments for these populations is not always easy to find. Therefore the NICHD has compiled the following resources and information related to these populations.
Current H1N1 Flu Information
The CDC has issued the following information about the use of vaccines and anti-viral medications for preventing and treating H1N1 flu:
- Currently, there is no available vaccine for swine flu, but the process for developing and then producing one has begun.
- The CDC recommends several Things to Do to reduce the risk of infection. The number one suggestion from the CDC and other agencies is if you are sick, stay home. Likewise, if your child is sick, he or she should stay home also. See additional suggestions and information from the CDC below.
In addition, the CDC offers the following information related to preventing and treating H1N1 flu in special groups.
For Parents and Caregivers of Infants and Children
- The CDC Web site now includes the following information:
- Information for Concerned Parents and Caregivers: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/childcare/
- Update on School (K – 12) and Child Care Facilities: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/schools
- The current situation surrounding H1N1 flu has led the FDA to issue Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for certain anti-viral medications to allow unapproved use of approved medications for this public health emergency. As part of the EUAs, the following uses are permitted:
- Infants: Infants can take oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu™) to treat and prevent suspected/probable/confirmed H1N1 flu if recommended by a health care provider. (Health care providers can visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/recommendations_pediatric_supplement.htm for specific information.)
- Children older than 1 year of age: Children can take zanamivir (Relenza™) and oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu™) to treat and prevent suspected/probable/confirmed H1N1 flu if recommended by their health care provider. (Health care providers can visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/recommendations_pediatric_supplement.htm for specific information.)
For Women Who Are Pregnant, Planning to Become Pregnant, or Breastfeeding
- The CDC now offers the following information:
- What Pregnant Women Should Know about H1N1 Virus: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/pregnant.htm
- Considerations for Pregnant Women More Likely to Be Exposed to H1N1 Virus at Work: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/pregnant-hcw-educators.htm
- Breastfeeding your Baby—Novel H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and Feeding Your Baby: What Parents Should Know: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/breastfeeding.htm
- In addition, the CDC recommends that women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding take zanamivir (Relenza™) and oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu™) to treat and prevent suspected/probable/confirmed H1N1 flu if recommended by a health care provider. (Health care providers can visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/clinician_pregnant.htm for specific information.)
For Persons with Disabilities or Conditions Associated with Disabilities
- The CDC explains that, at this time, there are no specific recommendations related to prevention or treatment of suspected/probable/confirmed H1N1 flu in persons with disabilities or conditions associated with disabilities.
- Thus far, the CDC notes that H1N1 flu virus is behaving in a manner similar to that seen for seasonal flu. Therefore, those at high risk for complications of seasonal flu are also considered to be at high risk for complications of H1N1 flu.
- The CDC suggests that additional care be considered for:
- Those with chronic conditions (such as asthma or metabolic syndromes)—Health care providers should visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/heart.htm for information specific to those with cardiovascular disease;
- Those who are immunosuppressed—Health care providers should visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance_HIV.htm for information specific to those who are HIV positive; and
- Those in chronic care facilities—Health care providers should visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidelines_infection_control.htm for information about preventing infection in health care facilities.
- Persons with disabilities and conditions related to disabilities may fall into this high-risk group and may require additional or special care. (Health care providers can visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/diagnosis/ for more information.)
This information should not be considered a substitute for a health care provider’s advice. Your health care provider is in the best position to provide specific health recommendations for you and your family.
The CDC and other agencies also provide information about the H1N1 flu on their Web sites:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
Seasonal Flu Information
Seasonal flu refers to common flu viruses that typically emerge between November/December and March/April, which is known as “flu season.” For certain groups, vaccine and medication use for preventing/treating seasonal flu differs from vaccine and medication use specific to H1N1 flu.
The following information applies to seasonal flu vaccines and seasonal flu medications for infants and children, and for women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
- Seasonal Flu Information for Infants and Children
- Seasonal Flu Information for Women Who Are Pregnant, Who Will Be Pregnant During Flu Season, or Who Are Breastfeeding
For the most complete and accurate information about H1N1 flu, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.
Originally Posted: May 1, 2009