Flu Numbers Lower at Cook Children’s Than Previous Seasons
484 children tested positive for Influenza A Last Week
More than 480 children tested positive for Influenza A at Cook Children’s Medical Center during the week of Dec. 23 through Dec. 29, 2018.
Flu A usually arrives prior to the B strain and is usually more severe than Flu B.
Of the 1,141 children tested last week, 484 tested positive for Flu A, 165 had RSV and none had Flu B.
The good news is that this flu season is currently lower than in previous years.
By this date in 2014-2015, more than 2,100 kids had tested positive at the medical center. By the end of last season, there were more than 3,000 kids who had tested positive.
To date this season, there have been a total of 1,395 positive tests.
Morgan Pence, Ph.D., a clinical microbiologist at Cook Children’s, says we are most likely to have a flu season similar to 2014-2015.
“It’s not clear if this flu season has peaked, but if it hasn’t yet, my guess is that it will peak in the next week or two,” Pence said.
Although the numbers are a bit lower than previously, Cook Children’s pediatricians are prepared to be busy over the next couple of weeks once the holiday break is over and kids return back to the classroom to share their germs with one another.
Dr. Terk stresses that the lower numbers right now may not mean an increase in flu cases in the near future.
"This isn't a guarantee that the total numbers will be lower," Dr. Terk said. "We could still have a later arriving season than we've had in the past and right now we don't know how long the season will last."
Flu Prevention Tips
Along with the vaccine and flu antiviral drugs if prescribed by a doctor, the CDC recommends these everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs:
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
“It’s important for people to take care of themselves and others to prevent the spread of the flu as much as possible,” said Mary Suzanne Whitworth, M.D., medical director of Infectious Disease. “The flu vaccine continues to be recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Make sure to practice washing your hands and please keep your children home if they are sick.”