From Dasa Wharton.
I HAVE been living in Jersey for only two years, so maybe I do not fully understand how things work here.
I am amazed by the conflicting advice given by Public Health regarding swine flu. As a mother of two young children, I am obviously concerned about the increasing numbers of swine flu cases and confused about the lack of guidelines about how long should children stay off school if one of their siblings or parents have confirmed swine flu.
I called the swine flu helpline today and was told that siblings of children with swine flu should either take Tamiflu or stay home for 48 hours. This kind of makes sense, even if one could wonder why only 48 hours when the incubation time can take up to seven days?
The Public Health website (http://www.gov.je/flu) states that: ‘If you are a close friend or family member of someone who has swine flu, you can continue working as long as you don’t have any flu symptoms.’
No wonder there is a huge increase of cases if this is official advice. Based on this, we should completely ignore both the incubation time of swine flu and its infectious nature and just send the children back to school and hope for the best.
To make things even more ridiculous, the same website talks about people who travel to affected areas: ‘The Public Health Department is advising that children returning to Jersey from affected areas should stay off school for 48 hours after returning to Jersey.’
So the conclusion is that if you travel to an area where there is a chance you might contract swine flu you should stay off school for 48 hours. But if your sibling or parent has a confirmed case of swine flu you can continue going to school as normal.
I am really impressed by the vaccination programme and all the work and effort put into dealing with the swine flu epidemic. It is a real shame that there is not yet a clear guideline as to how long children should stay at home if a family member has a suspected or a confirmed case of swine flu.
We all want to contain the spreading infection and keeping the children home through the incubation time is a simple yet effective measure of achieving that.