Flu season is a scary time for everyone, but it can be especially concerning for parents. Young children and babies are among the most vulnerable population. In 2018, a record number of children died from the flu, making it one of the deadliest years in recent history. Parents are strongly urged to vaccinate their kids against the flu, and get the vaccine themselves for extra protection. Still, there are people who continue to pass on the life-saving vaccine, who believe that getting the flu isn't that serious. A recent outbreak of swine flu in Canada really drives home the importance of getting the vaccine every single year. So far, 540 children have been hospitalized, and six have died after contracting swine flu, otherwise known as H1N1.
This is the predominate flu strain sickening people this year, and is a type of the influenza A virus that caused the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and 2010. Sadly, officials have said that of the children they've seen admitted to the ICU in this particular outbreak, none had gotten their flu vaccine this year.
The numbers are slightly down from the same period last year, but officials are saying that this particular strain of the virus in the area seems to be especially dangerous to kids. Out of 14,897 confirmed cases so far, 21% have been in kids under the age of four, 17% of cases have occurred in kids between the ages of four and fifteen. In fact, kids under the age of four are experiencing the highest rate of flu-related hospitalizations, at 47.69 per 100,000 people. Our of the 540 pediatric hospitalizations related to the flu, 95 kids had to be admitted to the ICU.
One child, 12-year-old Quinton Kequahtooway, was in an induced coma for three weeks after becoming so ill from the flu that he was near total organ failure. He was put on a respirator, and is quite lucky to be alive. His father Wesley says that Quinton should have gotten his vaccine through a school program, but that program failed to follow through.
While it may not seem like a big deal to get the flu, and while the majority of people who do get it will make a full recovery, it is a life-threatening illness for millions of people. Get your flu vaccines, people. It's not worth the potential ramifications if you don't.