If you've been on the fence about getting your younger children the flu shot this year and have been putting it off, you may want to reconsider your decision. This year has been one of the worst years for the flu affecting people in 45 states CBS News reports. And it seems that some of those who are the worst affected are younger children
According to CBC News, it's the H1N1 strain of the flu, more commonly known as the swine flu, that is the most widespread this year, which more seriously affects the health of young children and the elderly.
"Bottom line is that this one has a bigger impact on kids," Dr. Sanjay Mehta, a pediatrician at Kindercare in Toronto told the news station. "So this is the year where we're potentially going to see more death and devastation from it."
Dr. Laurentiu Givelichian, head of pediatrics for the Saskatchewan Health Authority explained that this particular strain affects children's lungs, making it especially dangerous for them.
“What is the most predominant symptom is that their level of oxygen in the blood is very low. They don't have the ability and capacity to generate enough oxygen for the rest of the body to survive the infection," Givelichian said. Public health physician Dr. Michelle Murti stressed that it's not too late to get your child a flu shot if you haven't yet done so.
"If people have not yet had the vaccine, it's not unusual that around this time, after the holidays, we might have a little bit more influenza activity," Murti said. "It's certainly within time to still get it now."
The #NewYear is here and so is #fluseason! Take 3 steps to #FightFlu.— CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) January 2, 2019
1️⃣ Get your #flu vaccine! It's not too late. 👨⚕️
2️⃣ Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs. 👐
3️⃣ Take antiviral drugs to treat flu, if prescribed to you. 💊 https://t.co/SFkRXTqo2E pic.twitter.com/vMUz3FyHW3
According to the CDC, there have been approximately between 6 and 7 million people who have come down with the flu in the US between October 2018 and January 5, 2019. Between 3 and 3.5 million of those people were sick enough to see a doctor about their symptoms, while as many as 83 thousand people have been hospitalized due to their symptoms.
Although the CDC does recommend getting the flu shot before the start of flu season, they still insist that getting the shot as long as the virus is circulating can be beneficial, which means that it's not too late if you haven't already gotten it.
#Flu is widespread in most of the country. Flu vaccination is the best tool to prevent flu, but antiviral drugs are can treat flu illness. Latest flu activity update: https://t.co/To4m34xyeh #FluView pic.twitter.com/kxOw3n2zpr— CDC Flu (@CDCFlu) January 15, 2019
If you do think you may have contracted the flu, do your part to help prevent its spread. Stay home or keep your kids home if they are showing symptoms, and wash your hands frequently to try to prevent the spread of germs. Flu season isn't fun for anyone, but the vaccine can help prevent getting it or at least making symptoms less severe if you or your child do happen to get it.