Public health officials say it's more important than ever for children to get a flu shot this season.
It's that time of year again -- flu season. Health officials say it's important for everyone to take precautions against catching the virus, but it's especially important for children ages six months to 18 years old. A new government report finds more children have died from flu because they also had a staph infection.
Dr. Michael Ramsey, a pediatrician at the Dothan Pediatric Clinic, says, “We are seeing more staff infections in the community. Most of those are skin infections, however staff tends to like to hang out in the nose and the back of the throat, so when these children get influenza infections they are more likely to get staff pneumonia. That's a potentially fatal infection.”
Seventy-three children died during last years flu season but what officials note is the increase in the number of children who died from hard to treat complications.
Dr. Ramsey says “As the virus is infecting the upper respiratory tract, and sometimes the lower respiratory tract, it impairs the body's ability to clear those secretions, and so bacteria like to build up in those areas. That's why the bacteria becomes more invasive and causes infections.”
Staph becomes particularly deadly when it gets into the bloodstream through cuts or wounds. Officials say part of prevention can be as close as your nearest sink.
Paige Pope, LPN, the Rehobeth School Nurse, says, “Good hand washing. That's the number one thing that we cannot stress enough to the parents. Teaching the kids proper hand washing and reminding them that if their out somewhere and their hands get dirty they can use the alcohol based gels, hand sanitizers.
It's an ounce of prevention that can provide a world of protection. The study appears in the October edition of Pediatrics.
For more information regarding the flu and flu shots, log onto www.cdc.gov/flu.