Even though numbers for adults with the flu in Kent County have been at peak levels for weeks, we are just now starting to see the flu peak for children -- and it has a lot to do with the fact they are back in school and around other kids.
As of last week, nearly 21 percent of Kent County students were absent because of the flu. Additionally, the stomach flu, which is also circulating right now, has nearly 24 percent of students out of class.
On the national level, there have been reports of children dying from the flu. Here in Michigan we've had two so far, this flu season.
Dr. William Bush, a pediatrician with Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, says it's very rare that a completely healthy child would die from the flu, “Yes, there’s rare cases that happen but more often and even in our current hospital both kids that are inpatient and kids in the ICU all have some underlying disease that has led them to be as sick as they are with influenza.
"They already have another respiratory virus that’s compromising their immune system those are the really sick kids.”
Dr. Bush also adds that parents should feel comfortable using virtual methods to help diagnose their child, whether it's through an app, a phone call or the internet.
“So getting that advice really can help a parent through that middle of the night when you’re not sure ok what fever do we tolerate? What medicines do we give?" he asked. "Is there anything over the counter that can make them feel better until they get over the influenza? I think those are great uses of our technology today.”
It's not too late to get your child vaccinated for the flu. If they are younger than nine and have never had a flu vaccine, they will need two rounds of vaccinations to give them protection.
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