Bumps n’ Bruises Pediatric Urgent Care wants to remind you that the influenza season is in full swing. The “flu,” caused by the influenza virus, is more dangerous to children than a cold, which can be caused any number of other viruses.
The flu generally has some or all of these symptoms: fever or feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, very tired, sometimes vomiting or diarrhea. Children under the age of 5 are at the highest risk of complications from the influenza virus, including ear infections, pneumonia, sinus infection, dehydration, encephalopathy (swelling of the brain) and though rare, even death. Each year about 20,000 children are hospitalized due to influenza complications.
Bumps n’ Bruises would like to remind parents that the Center for Disease Control (cdc.gov) recommends everyone 6 months and older to get the influenza vaccine annually, as this is the BEST way not to get the flu. Children under the age of 6 months are not old enough for the influenza vaccine, therefore their best protection is their household contacts getting the vaccine. Bumps n’ Bruises would like to remind breastfeeding mom’s that by getting the influenza vaccine, it will provide immune protection to your infants through your breast milk. The influenza vaccine can be given as early as September and can be given through the following spring, as the flu season can be unpredictable in its timing and severity.
Other important ways to prevent getting or spreading the flu or other germs, is making sure you cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue and disposing of the tissue. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which is how germs are introduced. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer. Staying away from people who are sick or if you are sick yourself, staying home and away from other household contacts.
You can monitor the influenza virus activity through the CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm
Bumps n’ Bruises recommends that you take care of yourself and your little ones by talking to your primary care doctor about the vaccine and if able, getting it early and annually. If your child is not feeling well and you are concerned, you should contact their pediatrician.