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Children’s flu could be deadly

This year’s flu season is wreaking havoc and claiming the lives of the tiniest victims.
According to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control, 10 children died in the United States during the second week of 2014, raising the death toll among children nationally to 20 during the 2013-2014 influenza season, which began last fall.
Since a child’s immune system is immature, a child is more susceptible to the virus, warns Malli Challapalli, MD, infectious disease specialist at Advocate Children’s Hospital-Oak Lawn.
“Parents need to take swift and deliberate actions in protecting children from the flu, since influenza can cause serious illness and death, particularly among children under 2 years of age,” said Challapalli. “Vaccination is the best method for preventing flu and its potentially severe complications in children.”
Children with chronic health conditions are at an even greater risk of contracting the flu and may experience severe medical complications.
Each year, an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications.
Five ways you can protect your child from the flu
The most important thing you can do is get flu vaccine for yourself and your child. Vaccination is recommended for everyone six months and older. Ensure that all of your children’s care providers get the flu vaccine, especially if your child has chronic medical conditions, such as lung disease, asthma, diabetes, neurologic disease or heart disease, or if you have a child under six months of age who is too young to be vaccinated for flu.
Stay away from people who are sick with cold and cough symptoms and avoid high traffic public areas if possible.
Cover coughs and sneezes and teach your child to cough into the elbow.
Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth after touching public surfaces as germs spread this way.

– Submitted by Advocate Children’s Hospital