Influenza, colloquially known as “flu” is an infectious disease and public health issue. On a global level, the flu infects millions of people worldwide and circulates yearly. In the United States, “flu season” occurs predominantly in the winter, but can begin as early as October and extend through May. Many people confuse the flu with a common cold, and though both are caused by viruses, unlike a cold, the flu can kill! The 2017-2018 flu season has seen increased hospitalizations and deaths due to Influenza across the country. This year’s flu has been quite severe, particularly in children.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 22 pediatric deaths from Influenza have been reported nationally, since the start of 2018 (it is now mid-February), bringing the current total of Influenza associated deaths in children to 84 for the 2017-2018 flu season. That number is likely to increase before the end of it all.
Influenza affects everyone, but the elderly and children, primarily infants under 6 months of age, are most susceptible and at risk for suffering severe illness or death. Children are also primarily responsible for the spread of Influenza throughout a community, since they shed the virus for a longer time period after infection, than adults. Continue reading