Parents preparing kids for H1N1 virus

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. - September 7, 2009 Families filled the aisles Monday at the Target in Springfield loading carts with all the back to school essentials.

Also on the list to go inside backpacks this year is hand sanitizer.

Store managers here say they've added extra shelves of hand sanitizer to keep up with demand. Parents and schools want to make sure students have it so their kids can stay healthy.

And this has become especially important as concerns about the H1N1 virus grow.

Health and school officials will try to prevent the bug from spreading but it's very likely students will get sick with either the H1N1 virus or another flu-like illness this fall. That's why parents and college students should have a plan.

College students should decide whether they can go home if they get sick.

Or if they stay on campus, they should have a "health buddy" to bring them food and homework as they stay in their room.

Working parents of school-aged kids should figure also out a plan if their kids get sick and have to stay home.

Having a plan can ease anxiety for parents as kids focus on their favorite part of starting a new school year.

Another thing to plan for is vaccines. The seasonal flu vaccine is already available and it's recommended for kids.

The H1N1 vaccine is expected to be ready by mid-October. Parents of school-aged kids should ask their family doctor about it. College students should also be thinking about how and when they can get the shot.

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