This year’s flu season is hitting young children hard. The type of flu that is prevalent this season leaves children more at risk, and we’re seeing in several communities that it is spreading quickly, even among children who were vaccinated.
In some schools, nearly half of the students are home sick. At one elementary school in Hudson, 47% of students were out sick Wednesday; that’s 123 students.
Seven of them had confirmed cases of Type B Flu.
Dr. Todd Ellerin, the Director of Infectious Diseases at South Shore Health, said that this year there’s a reason more children are sick.
“Most years with Flu B tend to be mild in severity but lots of cases, and it tends to target kids more than adults,” Dr. Ellerin said. “So we have seen a lot of illness in children.”
Winchendon is another school district dealing with an influx of sick students. Wednesday at the Memorial Elementary School there were 40 students home sick with flu-like symptoms.
“We recommend that parents keep their kids home until they have no fever for 24 hours off the fever-reducing agents,” Dr. Ellerin said.
But even if you or your child is sick, don’t rush to an emergency room – that only contributes to spreading the sickness.
“If the symptoms are more than mild then you want to call your primary care provider and see if you need to go in to be checked,” Dr. Ellerin said. “But only the sickest people with the flu should go to the emergency room.”
Dr. Ellerin says a flu shot doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu, but he still recommends getting one even this late in the season.
“We’ve seen lots of kids and adults who have gotten the flu even though they have gotten the flu shot,” he said. “But they tend to have less severe disease, so that’s really important.”
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