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The "Pink Piggy" Van and H1N1

Yesterday afternoon, I was fortunate (to my surprise) to be able to get at our pediatrician's office swine flu shots for Sarah, Josh, and Emma. No-o-o!, the office wasn't mobile, and it sure didn't look anything like this van. Not that the humor of the moment would have trumped my children's outrage, even if it had. After all, I was culpable. I had suffered them to be vaccinated point blank. I was unforgiven for so long as it took to drive home and their little arms ached.

To be sure, whether or not to vaccinate for H1N1 at all, as well as what steps to take to care for one's child if s/he does get the flu, continues to weigh on parents' minds across the country. In addition to frequent hand washing to prevent the transmission of germs, many of us have also adopted instant hand sanitizers. I know that I, for one, carry them around in my purse, in the car, and packed in with kid gear to have on hand for those moments when we can't wash up. So far so good. Surfing the Web, though, my attention was drawn to an article about the dangers of their improper use.

Yes, under ordinary circumstances, instant sanitizers safely and effectively destroy the majority of bacteria and viruses that can cause illnesses. They are, however, potently toxic chemicals that can cause unintended injury. The most familiar danger is hand sanitizer poisoning, especially in the very young. Most sanitizers contain 60 percent to 90 percent alcohol (commonly ethyl or isopropyl alcohol) -- a stronger concentration than most hard liquors! If ingested, even a small amount could lead to dizziness, slurred speech, headaches, and even brain damage or death in extreme cases. That translates into being certain to keep them out of sight when not in use, and out of the hands of inquiring little people who might be attracted by their scents or packaging (like my three "peeps") . . . fer shur!

(double click the video to see a larger version play on YouTube.com)

Photo Credit: See Ellen's post, entitled "Update On The Swine Flu" at To The Max featuring the "Pink Piggy van."