KeepHealthCare.ORG – Pediatric Deaths Increased During 2018 Flu Season — Precision Vaccinations
There is some good news regarding the 2017-2018 influenza season…. It’s finally ending.
Nationwide, as of May 5, 2018, only 1.5 percent of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This percentage is below the national baseline of 2.2 percent.
Only Puerto Rico and Arizona reported above-average ILI, while the other 49 states experienced minimal activity.
But, there is plenty of bad news regarding pediatric deaths during the 2017-2018 flu season.
A total of 165 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported for the 2017-2018 season as of May 5, 2018.
This is the most deaths reported in 4 years.
With Texas reporting 15 of these pediatric fatalities, or 8 percent nationwide.
Three cities in Texas are leaders in reporting flu activity during 2018.
But why was there an increase in children deaths this flu season?
According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study published in the journal, Pediatrics showed that 50 percent of flu-related deaths occurred in otherwise healthy children.
This study stresses how quickly the flu can become life-threatening for children. Nearly two-thirds of children died within 7 days of developing symptoms.
Moreover, 22 percent of these children were fully vaccinated.
This is an update to the 2013 Wong research paper that showed similar findings regarding overall flu risk in children.
Most noticeable, these findings also show antiviral treatment was only given in about half of all pediatric flu-related deaths.
Antiviral drugs are not a substitute for getting a flu vaccine.
Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.
Currently, the CDC recommends that flu antiviral drugs be started as soon as possible when young children and children with high-risk conditions are suspected of having the flu.
The majority of recently circulating influenza viruses are susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications, such as oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir.
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution) that fight against the flu virus in your body.
Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter at the pharmacy. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your healthcare provider.
When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days.
The most common reported side effects of antiviral drugs for flu are nausea and vomiting.
You can check the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website for specific information about an antiviral drug. Additional information on recommendations for treatment and chemoprophylaxis of influenza virus infection with antiviral agents is available here.
Most pharmacies offer flu shots for adults and some locations service pediatrics.
The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector prices for general information.
Flu vaccine discounts can be found here.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.