1. Health

How to Plan and Prepare for the H1N1 Swine Flu

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Updated October 26, 2011

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Work and School - Preparing and Planning for H1N1 Swine Flu

If your child gets sick with any flu, whether it is seasonal or H1N1 swine flu, then he or she will need to stay home. Of course, if you get sick with the virus, you'll need to stay home. And if your child is young and sick, you'll need to stay home to take care of him or her. Bottom line, there's a good chance you will be missing work and your child will miss school.

Work

Check with your employer to find out what plans are being made in your workplace. Do they have a policy in place for extra sick days in light of the advancing virus? Do they have guidelines for when you should call in sick? And how soon you should return if you do get sick?

What happens to your workload if you need to spend time out of your workplace? Can your co-workers pick up the slack or will your work just wait for your return? Can you work from home? If you deal with others outside your workplace (clients, customers, others) have you discussed the possibility of being absent with them? Or the possibility of them not being available to answer your questions?

Preparing for unexpected downtime makes it less unexpected - and makes any hiccups that may occur in your work less consequential. If you know what to expect when you return after being sick, then you will be less apt to worry about it -- a much healthier way to weather an illness.

Do you make less money if you have to take time off from work?

If so, try to save some money now in case you do get sick. Then, if you get sick, and you know you have some money saved, you'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you can take some time out of work to get better. Plan to miss three or four days of work for yourself, plus the same amount for each child you may need to stay home for. Even if the sick days overlap or they include your usual days off, it's always good to have some extra money in the bank anyway.

School

Check with your child's school to see if they have a policy in place for when your child should stay home, and when it is safe to return to school. The most recent CDC guidelines specify returning to work or school 24 hours after any fever diminishes -- but remember -- if you notice the fever is gone at 4 PM, that does not mean your child returns to school the next day. You need to wait those 24 hours, through to the morning after that.

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