Bad news, parents: We could be in for a rough flu season.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 7,000 cases of flu have been confirmed in the U.S. so far, which is more than double the number this time last year. While Kentucky isn’t dealing with a full-on flu outbreak, doctors are treating more and more patients every week.
What’s more, this year’s flu shot may not be up to the task. Though local officials say it’s too early to tell, the same vaccine was only 10 percent effective during Australia’s most recent flu season, which typically sets a pattern for what the U.S. will face.
So, if you haven’t already had your child vaccinated against the flu, is it worth them getting the shot?
Need a pediatrician?
With 18 locations across the region, care and compassion are never far away. Same-day sick appointments and Saturday hours are available at some locations.
“You still have coverage and protection against flu if you get the vaccine,” said Teresa P. Crase, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Brownsboro. “Even if the strains are not perfectly well matched for what is circulating, there is some overlap protection. While vaccinated people can still get sick, generally they get a milder and less dangerous form of the illness.”
Read more: Should you avoid the FluMist (again)?
Dr. Crase offers other suggestions on how to keep the flu away
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds or by using alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs often are spread when a person touches an object that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from contracting your illness.
- Stay home from work, school and running errands if possible when you are sick. This will help prevent others from catching your illness.
“Also, it’s very important to remind your children to practice these healthy habits,” Dr. Crase said. “Germs spread easily at school and in child care settings, which can get a whole class sick in a matter of days.”
|Signs and symptoms||Influenza||Cold|
|Fever||Usually; lasts 3-4 days||Rare|
|Aches||Usually; often severe||Slight|
|Chest discomfort, cought||Common; can be severe||Mild to moderate; hacking cough|