Record number of kids died from flu this season

80 percent of deaths occurred in children who didn’t get a flu shot

This past winter was one of the worst flu seasons. Now we’re learning just how bad. Unfortunately, it’s one for the record books.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 172 children died from the flu during the 2017-18 flu season, including five in Kentucky. About half the children had another health condition, but half did not.

Experts also point out that approximately 80 percent of these deaths occurred in children who did not receive a flu vaccination this season.

“The flu shot is incredibly important,” said Becky S. Carothers, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Broadway. “Though the vaccine doesn’t always prevent the flu, it often makes the virus less severe when someone comes down with a case of it.”

According the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children ages 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine, unless there is a medical reason not to vaccinate. If your child is between 6 months and 8 years old and has not had a flu vaccine before, two doses four weeks apart are recommended for the best protection. Previously vaccinated children may need only one dose.

“If you have questions, talk to your pediatrician,” Dr. Carothers said.