2020-2021 Flu Information
It is the time of the year when we all should get our flu shots, especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic. I recommend it for everyone 6 months and older and especially for those under 2 years of age and patients who have chronic medical problems. In patients under 9 years of age who have never had an influenza vaccination, they need 2 shots separated by at least 28 days. 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, 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 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 and Xofluza (children 12 years and older) are antiviral medicines that may be used to treat the flu. They can decrease the flu 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. Xofluza is fairly well tolerated, but can cause nausea and headache, and has a shorter time to symptom improvement.
The main complications of the flu are:
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 Main Campus ED downtown (630 Children’s Dr. Columbus, OH 43205) or Nationwide Children’s Hospital Lewis Center ED (7853 Pace Dr. Delaware, OH 43015).
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.
A recent study published in the journal Social Service Review found that teens who received more attention from their fathers had fewer emotional and behavioral problems. Other studies have demonstrated improved grades and better food choices when fathers are more involved and model healthful eating. So let us fathers and grandfathers continue to do our best for our progeny!