"2018 Flu Information"
From the Desk of Dr. Dan
Dear Patients and Parents of Gahanna Pediatrics:
The influenza season is hitting a peak now, but may last another ten weeks. Getting a flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself from the flu. Even if the strains of flu in the vaccine are mismatched to circulating strains (Australia’s experience suggests effectiveness may be only 10%), the flu vaccine can decrease severity of symptoms and the risk of hospitalization or death. Other ways to protect yourself are washing your hands, getting adequate sleep, and eating a healthful diet.
The influenza virus circulating this year is predominantly H3N2, which tends to cause more severe symptoms. Flu is widespread in 49 states, with Hawaii being the only exception. Hospitalizations this year are most common in adults older than 50 and children younger than 5 years old.
The flu is a respiratory infection that can cause symptoms such as sudden onset fever, chills, aches and pains, deep cough, and sore throat. 10-20% of children may have GI symptoms. If you become ill, cover your cough (cough into elbow or tissue), wash your hands frequently, stay home, and keep your children home until they are without fever for 24 hours and are well enough to actively participate in school. Treatment is supportive: push fluids, encourage rest, and offer small volumes of food frequently. Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen may be used for fever and aches or pains. Refrain from giving aspirin or aspirin-containing products (such as Pepto-Bismol).
Tamiflu is an antiviral medicine that may be used to treat the flu. Its benefit is modest; it decreases duration of the flu by about 1 day and may decrease the severity of symptoms. Tamiflu may be expensive and may cause nausea, vomiting, and headache; for these reasons I use it mainly for children less than 5 years and those with chronic conditions (asthma, heart problems, kidney problems, neurological conditions, diabetes, etc.) or if parents request it. Tamiflu is only effective if started during the first 48 hours of symptoms.
The bottom line is that if you suspect your child has the flu and they are acting quite ill, then seek consultation at my office, at an urgent care (Close to Home Centers) staffed by pediatricians, or at Nationwide Children’s Hospital ED downtown.
And if you haven’t gotten your children immunized against the flu, do it now!!!
In our Gahanna community we have excellent resources to check that car seats are properly installed. Mifflin Township Division of Fire employs a certified child passenger safety technician who can help ensure proper instillation. To schedule an appointment, call 614-471-0542. Healthychildren.org also is an excellent website for car seat and other safety and health information.
Sleep problems can be some of the most difficult pediatric problems. Following are some helpful hints in dealing with your child’s sleep problems.
A very good reference book for sleep issues is:
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
by Richard Ferber, M.D.
Cold Weather Injuries
Exposure to cold can produce various injuries as a result of our inability to adapt to cold. People can develop localized injury to a body part (frostnip or frostbite) and generalized cooling of the whole body (hypothermia). Children are at increased risk of cold weather-related injuries.
Winter is a great time for fun, invigorating outdoor activities. Just be aware that the cold can harm your children if you are not careful.
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