Well... this happened a little sooner than I thought it would: a child at Mollie's school (not in her class) was diagnosed with novel H1N1 influenza.
The good news is that the child's parent told me and the principal called me to inform me last night. Actually, I'm very pleased because it means that the school and parents have taken our requests to heart. Just last night, we distributed a letter to the kindergarten parents explaining Mollie's health status and asking for parents to please notify us if their child becomes ill. It worked.
So now for the swine flu. I spoke with Dr. Bell. She said that we could keep Mollie out of school, but it will probably take at least a year for the virus to make it's way through the community. Or, we could just be careful about monitoring the people with whom she comes into direct contact. Basically, it's up to us. Man, this is tough.
I am inclined to be extremely cautious right now. Once the vaccine is available, I think (& hope) that it will reduce the chances of Mollie getting sick (or severely sick).
She went to school today. Next week, she has chemo on Tuesday, so I will probably keep her home all week. She will be on steroids anyway. And we will find out her ANC which should help us decide.
I wasn't expecting this decision to be so hard, but Mollie really loves school. She's just getting into the routines and getting to know the other kids and her teacher. I hate to yank her from that right now if it's unnecessary, but I definitely don't want her to wind up extremely ill in the hospital over missing a few days of school. If only there was a published risk benefit analysis!!
Updated with an excerpt from an e mail I got from another practitioner (Beth) in the Peds Oncology practice:
If the child in her class isn't exhibiting any symptoms (cough, , fever, etc), then Mollie is okay to continue going to school. I think this is going to make everyone a little more nervous that usual because of the threat of swine flu. We are following the CDC recommendations in our advice to our patients. Currently they are not quarantining family members of persons that have the flu...that may change as the season progresses. For the present, I would allow Mollie to continue attending school....keep in touch with her teacher, and if children in her classroom have active flu symptoms, that would be a reason to keep her home for a few days.