Flu season comes each year and divides our nation into those who scramble to the nearest pharmacy to receive their flu shot and those who pause for a moment, shrug their shoulder, and carry on with their day. Parents of young children do not have the luxury of being able to simply shrug off the flu season. For children, the flu can often lead to hospitalization and in extreme cases, death. The CDC has given hope to parents with the release of a new report, which says children who received the flu vaccination were 74 percent less likely to be admitted to the hospital during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 flu seasons.
The study, released this month by the CDC in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, reinstates the importance of getting a flu vaccination. The study was conducted on children aged 6 months to 17 years and spanned from 2010-2012. The vaccination did not always prevent the contraction of the flu virus, but it did protect children from the flu’s more serious complications, such as infection, that often require hospital treatment. “These study results underscore the importance of an annual flu vaccination, which can keep your child from ending up in the intensive care unit,” said Dr. Alicia Fry from the CDC’s Influenza Division, Fox News reported.
Symptoms of the flu include: fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pains, headaches, and at times, diarrhea and vomiting. Doctors suggest that you visit a doctor at the immediate onset of any of these symptoms. In most extreme cases, the flu virus can cause death. A study of the 2011-2012 flu season showed that there were 26 child deaths caused by the virus, spanning 15 states. This is an improvement from the 122 pediatric deaths reported in the 2010-11 season, and the 348 pediatric deaths in the 2009-2010 flu seasons.
Although the number of children who die from the flu each year is significantly decreasing, in order to reach the optimal null deaths, more emphasis needs to be placed on flu vaccination in children. The flu is also a serious problem for the elderly and those who already have a compromised immune system. The study showed that more than half (55 percent) of the children who had a life-threatening case of the flu already had at least one underlying chronic medical condition. Regardless of your current age or health, the CDC suggests that everyone over the age of 6 months get a yearly flu shot. Each year the shot changes due to the constant adaptations of the flu virus.
Source: Ferdinands JM, Olsho LEW, Agan AA, et al. Effectiveness of influenza vaccine against life-threatening RT-PCR-confirmed influenza illness in US children, 2010-2012.The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2014