This year's flu is in full swing sending lots of kids to the hospital. Dr. Jon McCullers, Pediatrician in Chief at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, says:
"We are seeing an influx of children with the flu in our Emergency Department. Symptoms are cough, sore throat, fever and body aches. The onset of this year's flu is mostly concentrated in Tennessee and throughout Texas.
The strains are covered by the vaccine, and it is not too late to get vaccinated. The vaccine is your most important weapon as we enter flu season. It's quick and easy, as well as safe and effective. In general, healthy children and adults ages 2-49 years of age may receive either the injection or the nasal spray version of the vaccine. Typically, the nasal spray seems to work best in the younger population from around the ages of 2 to 7. That's because those kids haven't typically been exposed to the flu yet, and the spray seems to benefit that particular age group's immunities.
The best means of prevention is:
good hand hygiene
wash hands or use hand sanitizer
cough into your sleeve
stay away from sick people and crowds.
There are good antiviral treatments available from your
pediatrician, and it is particularly important for children with
underlying illnesses such as asthma, seizures, lung heart or kidney
disease, diabetes and others to get to the doctor early to prevent the
infection from getting worse.
The main message I want to
relay to parents is just get vaccinated; the flu is preventable. Whether
you decide to do the spray or the shot, you and your family will be
protected from getting an illness that causes a lot of discomfort and
can lead to other things if not treated. Both forms of the vaccine are
available at your pediatrician's office or local drug store. If you've
got other questions or concerns, talking to your pediatrician is best."