Seven pediatric deaths have been reported to CDC so far this season. It’s too soon to make any assessment about this season’s severity, however since this H1N1 virus has been associated with significant illness and severe illness among young children. At this point, most flu activity has been driven by illness in school-aged children, and hospitalization rates among children younger than 5 years old (7.7 per 100,000) are now the highest among all age groups. Usually adults 65 years and older have the highest hospitalization rates. The death reported this week was associated with an influenza A infection. The seven deaths reported to CDC this season have been associated with a mix of H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B virus infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February, and it is not too late to get protection!
With significant flu still to come this season, CDC continues to recommend that anyone who has not yet gotten a flu vaccine this season should get vaccinated now.
Don’t let the flu get you down!
It’s never fun to be sick, but the flu is more serious than the common cold. It can be dangerous—especially for older people, children under 4, and pregnant women.
The timing of flu season is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. “It can take up to two weeks for the body to develop immunity, so it’s important to vaccinate as early in the season as possible,” says David Bronstein, MD, Physician-in-Charge and Family Medicine Physician at Kaiser Permanente Palmdale Medical Offices. “While children, pregnant women and the elderly are more at risk for complications from the flu, it can be just as serious for healthy young adults.”
Millions of people get the flu every year. Many of them get so sick they end up in the hospital. Protect yourself and the people you care about with these simple tips.
Get your flu shot
It’s your best defense. The vaccination can’t give you the flu—but it can help protect you against this year’s most common strains and prevent spreading the flu to others. Flu viruses change each year, and so does the vaccine. Reduce your risk by getting your flu shot every year.
Please contact me (Nicol.C.Gerstein@kp.org; 818-568-9302) if you would like to schedule an interview with David Bronstein, MD, Kaiser Permanente Antelope Valley, to discuss Flu. You can also use the attached photos as needed.