Environment Forum

Students use “Dracula Sneeze” to fend off swine flu

To keep the swine flu from spreading, California public school students are being told to practice what they have dubbed the “Dracula Sneeze.”

California Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell said that last week teachers reminded students that if they have to sneeze, to put their mouths into the crook of one of their elbows.

“The students started calling that the Dracula Sneeze, and we picked up on that,” O’Connell said on Monday.

As of Monday afternoon, no state public schools have been closed due to swine flu. A private school in the Sacramento, California area was closed on Monday when a teenager got sick, possibly of swine flu.

O’Connell said students can identify with the Dracula character and if that helps them practice better hygeiene, the Dracula Sneeze is what they’ll call the maneuver.

California finds new strain of swine flu

The California Department of Public Health is alerting health-care providers that two children in Southern California, a 10-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl,  have been diagnosed with a strain of swine flu that has never been seen in the United States.“Although both of these children have fully recovered, we are investigating the illnesses and working to identify any additional cases,” spokesman Mark Horton said in a statement.”The California Department of Public Health will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments to gather as much information as we can about these swine flu cases,” he said.A preliminary analysis showed that both patients had been infected with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses, which are different from the strain identified in a 1976 outbreak.   The source of exposure has not yet been identified and individuals who came in contact with the two children were being interviewed and tested.Health care professionals were being advised to be aware of the new strain of swine influenza when treating anyone with flu-like symptoms who has been around pigs.The CDC says it documents only one swine flu infection every one or two years but has seen that number grow to 12 just since 2005, possibly due to better reporting.Cases are typically related to close contact with infected pigs in places like barns and livestock exhibits at fairs. Neither of the children diagnosed with the current strain said they had been in proximity to pigs.