Medical Info

Flu Facts

During the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 over 20 million people died, including 500,000 in the United States alone. On average as many as 36,000 Americans die each year from influenza more commonly known as the flu. In 2003 the number rose to over 67,000. Each year another 150,000 are hospitalized. Unfortunately many of them are our children. Many people who get influenza can develop pneumonia. The combination of influenza and pneumonia is in fact the seventh leading cause of death among Americans and the sixth leading cause of death in our children under the age of 13.

b&w Ian and mommy mooWhat is Influenza?

Influenza, commonly called “the flu”, is a highly contagious disease that is caused by a virus, which infects the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs). Unlike the common cold, the FLU can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people of all ages.

Cold Vs. The Flu

Cold
•Cough
•Sore Throat
•Runny or Stuffy Nose
•All symptoms are usually very mild

The Flu
•Fever (usually high)
•Headache
•Extreme Tiredness
•Dry Cough
•Sore Throat
•Runny or Stuffy Nose
•Muscle Aches
•Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

How to Stop the Spread of the Flu

1.Get Vaccinated
2.Cover your mouth and nose with elbow. (not your hands)
3.Clean your hands with SOAP.
4.Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
5.If sick, stay home.
6.Avoid contact with individuals that are sick.
When an individual becomes infected, unvaccinated household members and work colleagues quickly follow suit, leading to missed school days, missed work, doctor visits and sometimes hospital visits.

Who can get the flu?

•Anyone. Young or old, healthy or high risk.
•In fact, one in five people in the US get the flu each season.
•The flu does not discriminate.

So remember it may not be JUST the flu! Follow your instincts about your children. No one knows your children better than you do.

Know the Facts

Myth #1: You can get the flu from the flu vaccine.

FALSE – This is impossible. The flu vaccine does not actually carry a live virus; it contains inactivated or weakened organisms. Vaccine manufacturers grow the flu virus in eggs, then cleanse and chemically treat the virus to deactivate it.

Myth #2: The flu is just a bad cold.

FALSE – The flu is a serious disease. It is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs). In the United States, about 200,000 people are hospitalized and tens of thousands of people die each year because of the flu. Influenza kills more Americans every year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.

Myth #3: It is not necessary for children to receive a flu vaccination.

FALSE – Children are two-to-three times more likely to develop influenza than adults because of their less-developed immune systems. More than 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized due to the flu each year. In addition, influenza kills nearly 100 children under five years of age in the United States every year.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu every year.

Myth #4: The side effects of the vaccine are worse than the flu itself.

FALSE – Most people who get the flu shot have no reaction. Up to 25 percent may have some redness and slight swelling at the site of injection; the risk of a severe allergic reaction in those who receive a vaccination is less than one in four million.

Myth #5: You must be vaccinated in the Fall to be protected against the flu.

FALSE – It is recommended to get vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available in your community. The flu virus tends to spread from October to May, with most cases occurring in January or February. However, vaccinations can be given at any time during the flu season – even getting a vaccination later in the season (December through March) can still help protect you from influenza.

Myth #6: Only older people need the flu vaccine.

FALSE – The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu every year.

Myth #7: Taking vitamin C or Echinacea will prevent the flu.

FALSE – There is no conclusive evidence that these treatments are effective against the flu.

Myth #8: The flu vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing the flu.

FALSE – Although influenza vaccination is not 100 percent effective, it’s important that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu to help reduce the spread of the virus in the community. The more people who get vaccinated against the flu every year, the lower the risk of catching the flu.

Myth #9: Getting the influenza vaccine every year isn’t necessary.

FALSE – The vaccination needs to be given every year. Because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses. In addition, a person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time; therefore, annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection.

Myth #10: Healthy people don’t need a flu vaccine.

FALSE – The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu every year.

Infants younger than 6 months old are too young to be vaccinated. Protect them by getting yourself, other children and family members, and close contacts vaccinated. This will help prevent spreading the virus to infants.