Want your family to avoid the flu this season? Get the kids vaccinated, now. That's the recommendation of Dr. Jon McCullers, pediatrician-in-chief at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. He warns that after several mild flu seasons, this one could be more severe. "It's difficult to predict year to year," says McCullers, "but it could be tough this year."
The hospital has already treated several cases. Even during an "intermediate" flu season like last year's, Le Bonheur was seeing up to 35 children during the peak. Typically, influenza strikes with a vengence after Christmas break, when kids return to school after spending time with family members from other regions of the country.
McCulllers recommends getting the vaccine now, as it takes two to three weeks before it's fully effective. The new vaccine available this year also protects against all four flu strains. Be aware; the flu is not like the common cold.
Flu symptoms include: • Muscle aches • High fever • Cough • Nausea
Shot or mist? Nasal sprays or flu mist are recommended for children ages 2 to 18. Mists are also recommended for adults up to age 49. Flu shots are recommended for those with asthma or other breathing difficulties.
Young children and RSV
Children under age 2, especially preemies or those with breathing difficulties, are succeptible to RSV. RSV is an upper respiratory infection that can dangerous if not treated promptly. RSV symptoms include breathing difficulties, congestion, and dehydration from not being able to keep fluids down. If you baby exhibits these symptoms, see your pediatrician.
Best flu prevention • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (influenza is spread via droplets on the hands) or use alcohol gels • Sneeze into your elbow • Stay away from people who are sick