Can Healthy Kids Still Die From the Flu?
Even healthy children can die from the flu after symptoms appear, officials have warned.
Significantly, 35 percent of these children died before being hospitalized or within the first three days of developing symptoms, according to the report published in Pediatrics. Of the 794 children studied, 43 percent had no known medical condition that put them at high risk of dying from flu.
As for children with high-risk medical conditions who died, 33 percent had neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy or seizure disorder, and 12 percent had a genetic condition that put them at risk for flu complications.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that flu complications killed 830 children in the states between 2004-2012. Many of the children were otherwise healthy.
"We found these influenza-related deaths can occur in children with and without medical conditions and in children of all ages, and that very few of these children have been vaccinated," said lead author Dr. Karen Wong, a CDC medical epidemiologist.
In fact, researchers discovered that only 22 percent with a high-risk medical condition had been vaccinated, and only 9 percent without a significant medical condition had been vaccinated.
Prevention, with a flu shot, is key. Wong said, "That's why we recommend every child 6 months or older get vaccinated every year."
Wong said that pregnant women need to get vaccinated in order to protect their newborn. It's also vital for anyone who is near a baby to be vaccinated so they can't pass the flu on to the child.
She stressed that children who get the flu need to be watched carefully and to contact a doctor when you notice the symptoms.
According to the CDC, each year in the US, the flu causes an estimated 54,000 to 430,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 to 49,000 deaths, with infection rates highest among children.
Flu season is here -- how you can stay safe this year?
Just in time for the chillier weather, flu season frequently occurs from October through as late as May, with January and February usually being the peak months for infection, Yahoo Health reports.
Just how sick people will get and how widespread the bug will go is unknown at this time since the severity of the virus varies year to year.
You need to get vaccinated every year -- not just for your own health, but for the safety of others. The flu vaccine for the 2013-14 year is now widely available.
This year's vaccine offers better protection as it contains versions of the four influenza viruses that scientists have identified as the ones most likely to be circulating. Previous years’ vaccines only contained three versions of the virus.
Also new to this year, there are more options for those who have an egg allergy, a “recombinant” vaccine that works for people who are between 18- to 49-years-old.
An improved “intradermal” version of the shot is now available, versus the classic shot that's injected into a muscle. The tiny needle of the intradermal version means less pain and no sore arm on the injection site. This injection is also only approved for the 18 to 64 set.
The intranasal vaccine, or one that's squirted into the nose, is also available with the new vaccine used this year. It is approved for use healthy 2-to 49-year-olds.