Three Things to Tell Your Children About Avian Bird Flu

Children are impressionable which is why when explaining something such as bird flu to them you have to be careful about how you word it.

Your risk of being infected with Bird Flu really has had more to do with whether or not you come into contact with domesticated birds, however with new cases found in cats, concern no is that there is a greater risk to humans. At this point the American Medical Association puts the chances of the average human contracting Bird Flu very low, but they also warn that this can change at any point in time.

Avian influenza virus refers to influenza A viruses found mostly in birds. Studies have shown, however that infections with these viruses can also occur in humans. So how do you explain bird flu to your children without scaring them?
First, tell your children what causes bird flu. It is important that they understand that this is an illness that birds generally catch, not humans. They also need to understand that there have been cases of people catching the illness but that these have, thus far, been rare cases.

Second, explain to your child that some times the media gets away with itself. The American Medical Association has reported that human influenza virus usually refers to those subtypes that spread widely among humans. When there is an instance of avian influenza around poultry, there is a possible risk to people who have contact with infected birds or surfaces that have been contaminated with secretions or excretions from infected birds to get the virus. So explaining to your children that bird flu is generally contracted by people when they are in close quarters with the droppings from birds may take away their fear a little since most children are not directly exposed to this type of atmosphere.

Finally, explain to your children that there is a treatment for those who do get infected. There are some prescription medicines approved in the United States for human influenza viruses that will work in treating Bird flu infection in humans.

It is always important in situations where children are involved to explain in a way they will understand but not to treat them as if they haven’t a clue. Kids are much smarter than many of us realize. Explaining bird flu to them will help alleviate their fears.

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