Flu Season Hitting Children Hard This Year

January 6, 2020

It’s hard to imagine that something like the flu can be deadly. Most of us who do catch the influenza virus feel quite sick for a few days, maybe a week or more. And then it can take weeks to fully feel right again. But not everyone can shake off the flu and sometimes the virus causes serious complications, even among those we least expect it to affect so badly: healthy children.

The flu is not an illness to take lightly. It’s not a gastro illness or tummy flu. Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to pneumonia and other complications. It can also trigger sepsis. And this year’s flu season in the United States is proving particularly dangerous for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so far, there have been 2,667 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations between October 1, 2019 and December 28, 2019. Not surprising, adults over 65 years old represent the largest group with almost 20 people for every 100,000 in the general population, followed by young children, from birth to age 4 years, with almost 18 per 100,000.

A Medscape article dated December 30, 2019, said that over 2,000 people have died from influenza/sepsis this season alone so far; 22 were children. “The number of children who have died from influenza and pneumonia is twice as high as it was last season at this time,” the author wrote.

Although some areas are seeing shortages of the flu vaccine, it’s not too late to be vaccinated if your healthcare provider or local pharmacy has the vaccine on hand. And even if you have had the vaccine, you still must be careful not to transfer the virus unknowingly, so infection prevention strategies, such as thorough and frequent hand washing, are important for everyone – those who are vaccinated and those who aren’t.

If you or someone you know does contract the flu, chances are there will be a full recovery. However, if there doesn’t seem to be any improvement or there are signs of sepsis, this is a medical emergency and you must seek help as quickly as possible. To help you remember the basic signs of sepsis, Sepsis Alliance initiated the It’s About TIME™ campaign:

Please visit the Sepsis and… library to learn more about Sepsis and Influenza, Sepsis and Children, and Sepsis and Pneumonia.