Flu Myth #1: “The flu isn’t dangerous for children”
Young children, older adults, and individuals with compromised immune systems all have a higher-than-normal risk for developing complications from the flu. Each year, 20,000 kids under the age of five are hospitalized due to health issues that were caused or exacerbated by the flu.
Flu Myth #2: “My daughter is a diligent hand washer, she won’t get the flu”
Handwashing isn’t enough to adequately protect kids against the influenza virus. The following is a direct quote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “The single best way to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated each year.” Still not convinced? Here’s why you should give your child the flu shot
Flu Myth #3: “The flu shot doesn’t really work”
A new version of the flu vaccine is created each year, based on predictions of which strains will be most active during the upcoming flu season. Typically, the flu shot is anywhere from 50 to 60% effective; not a guarantee of complete immunization, but enough protection to justify vaccination. Last year, however, the flu shot’s effectiveness rate plummeted to 13% after an unexpected strain of the H2N3 swept through the country, which led to a resurgence of one of the most notorious flu myths. Thankfully, all indications are that this year’s flu shot formula will be much closer to the normal range.
Flu Myth #4: “Inhalers only help diagnosed asthmatics”
This is definitely one of the lesser-known flu myths. When the flu causes your child to have coughing fits an inhaler can help, even if he or she has never been diagnosed with asthma. Over-the-counter cough medicines often aren’t as effective as inhaler because they don’t address the true cause of the cough: a bronchospasm. This concept is further explained in a previous blog post: The Flu Makes Us All Feel Asthmatic.
Flu Myth #5: “Medicine doesn’t work when you have the flu”
Just like a cold, the flu has no pharmaceutical cure. There are, however, certain medications that can shorten the duration and decrease the severity of your child’s illness. The key is getting him or her in to see a doctor at the first sign of flu symptoms (e.g. fever, headache, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, runny nose), because these medicines only work if taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Can’t tell whether it’s the cold or the flu? This video will help.
There is no “convenient” time for the flu to strike, but getting your child the care that he or she needs doesn’t have to derail your entire day. You can stop by any one of the three KinderMender locations (Columbia, Glen Burnie, or Laurel) to receive flu shots or flu treatment, or make an appointment by calling 443-492-4000.