As part of our series “What’s Going Around,” we take a look at what illnesses folks are currently coming down with and what you can do to protect yourself. This week, we touched on the flu in Pennsylvania and, more particularly on how it’s affecting children.
The number of flu cases has increased during the past week in all regions of the state, with the biggest rise in the southeast and northwest. This flu season 36 adults and one child have died of the virus. We talked to a local pediatrician about how children in our area have been faring this year.
At Chopra Pediatrics, Dr, Rakesh Chopra said, “We’ve seen worse seasons in the last few years, but, definitely in the last few weeks, it’s picked up so I would say worse than average flu season.’
A few of Dr. Chopra’s patients with flu have been hospitalized this year. Those who fared best have one thing in common…a flu shot.
“It’s actually a better than average year for matched strains with the vaccine, so most of the kids we’re seeing have not been vaccinated. The ones that have been vaccinated, we’re seeing less severe disease in those kids,” he explained.
He says infants or very young children with flu symptoms and those with chronic conditions like asthma should be seen by their doctor early on. They’re most at-risk of complications. Treating them with Tamiflu could spare them the worst of the virus.