Influenza, the virus that causes the flu, has the ability to mutate every year. This is why everyone needs yearly flu shots. This year’s strain is particularly nasty, and is making everyone really sick. The flu can be spread as far as 6 feet away by coughing, and can live on surfaces for up to 8 hours.
People die of the flu each year. The more cases of flu, the more deaths there are. Who is most at risk from the flu? Children younger than 2, the elderly and anyone with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases. How can you protect yourself from the flu? Get your flu shot or flu mist! This year’s vaccine is a good match for the current flu strain. The other way to protect yourself and your family is frequent hand washing. You can help stop the spread of flu by staying home from work or school when sick.
Here are the top 5 ways to tell the difference between a cold and the flu:
- Kids are super sick and symptoms come on suddenly. The best description is that they suddenly feel like they were run over by a truck. They are in bed for days.
- High fevers from 100-105 degrees Fahrenheit that last for 4-5 days.
- Shaking chills, severe body aches and weakness.
- Bad sore throat, cough, congestion and headache.
- Dehydration caused by poor fluid intake.
- Kids are not that sick. They are crabby, but still play and act like themselves.
- Kids can run fevers for a few days, but generally not as long or as consistently high.
- Runny nose and cough are the main complaints.
- No muscle aches or body aches.
- Generally no problems with dehydration, although they may eat a little less.
So, what do you do if you think you or your child has the flu? Viral antibiotics DO NOT help. Treatment includes:
- Fever-reducing medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- Lots of fluids with electrolytes, such as Pedialyte or Gatorade.
There is an antiviral medicine available that can be given if started within the first 48 hours; however, it does have some side effects and you should talk to your doctor before starting it.
You should see your doctor if your child is younger than 1 and has flu symptoms, or if a child of any age is taking a turn for the worse. Call your doctor if you are not sure whether to bring them in. Visit the emergency room only if your child has breathing problems, severe dehydration or is sent by their doctor.
I can say last week I was quite disheartened. A patient was in the room and we were discussing her baby and the fact that she didn’t want to give her any more immunizations. The mom was crying, I was dismayed, but luckily the baby didn’t understand what we are talking about and was happily playing away.
Once a week I get into a discussion about immunizations and the pros and cons. At times it seems like a debate. Unfortunately it is one that I just don’t understand. I try to look at it from my parent’s perspective, and I realize that the information out there is confusing to a parent. We have had studies from well respected physicians, reports from well known people in the political world, and information blown up by the media about the evils of vaccines and how they are harming our children. Andrew Wakefield issued a report in the Lancet and then later in the British Medical Journal in 1998 that showed how the MMR vaccine could be a cause of autism. For years I have had patients scared because of this report and hesitant to give this vaccine and others. In the past few months the British Medical Journal has come out and shown that this well respected physician’s research was fraudulent. He wanted to make a point, but his research did not prove it so he altered it. Wow! The majority of the medical world did not believe in his research to begin with, but celebrities and playboy bunnies became spokespeople for autism and played on parents fears and convinced many not to vaccinate their children.
I cannot tell you the cause of autism. I cannot give you a 100% guarantee that certain children with immune problems who receive vaccines may not develop a problem. …Continue reading →
Once again, Bayshore Pediatrics is offering the seasonal influenza vaccine to all patients. Bayshore Pediatrics has strongly encouraged all children 6 months and older to receive an annual influenza vaccine for the past 7 years (long before the CDC recommendations). The seasonal flu vaccine provides protection to children during a time when illness is often on the rise. We will begin influenza vaccination clinics starting as early as September 1st. To find more information about the seasonal flu and making an appointment, check out our website at BayshorePediatrics.com under Vaccine Resources or call our office. You will want to call our office early to get the best appointment times. Influenza vaccine clinics are on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and some Saturdays.
New for 2010-2011, the influenza vaccine for 2010-2011 includes the H1N1 vaccine. This means that a separate vaccine is not required for H1N1 this year. Special note for parents with children ages 6 months through 8 years of age that did not receive the H1N1 vaccine or are unsure if they did, these children will need two doses of flu vaccine this year.
Please call our office to speak with your pediatrician if you have questions about your child(ren) receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine.
My husband, a NPR (National Public Radio) junkie, heard a discussion regarding the H1N1 vaccine today. I read and listened to the broadcast on the NPR website tonight. I think it is a great review and question/answer summary about the vaccine. It is very consistent with the message from Bayshore Pediatrics; it’s nice to hear it again from an outside source. Below is the link to the site:
Continue to check the website and blog for information about distribution of the vaccine. Hopefully, we will have it available to everyone soon.
With a little luck (and good hand washing), we’ll get through this winter without too much illness.
Once again, Bayshore Pediatrics is offering the seasonal influenza vaccine (this is not the same as the H1N1 flu vaccine) to all patients. Bayshore Pediatrics has strongly encouraged all children 6 months and older to receive an annual influenza vaccine for the past 7 years (long before the CDC recommendations). The seasonal flu vaccine provides protection to children during a time when illness is often on the rise. We will begin influenza vaccination clinics starting as early as September 1st for nasal influenza vaccine and September 15th for injectable influenza vaccine. …Continue reading →
Will there be a vaccine to prevent H1N1 (swine) flu? Will it be safe? When can we come in to get it for our kids? These are frequent questions at the office over the last few weeks. Thankfully, the volume of sick kids has significantly decreased over the last few weeks (sigh of relief!). The experts at the CDC have told us to expect a decline in influenza this summer – I’m definitely enjoying that now!
But what about the fall? Almost everyday, there is an article in the paper or on CNN.com about a presumed resurgence for this fall. How can we protect our kids, and still allow them to live their lives? (None of us are recommending hiding in the basement all winter!) I think that the greatest hope is that a vaccine can be produced to protect us this winter. …Continue reading →