The danger of the flu
While everyone's mind is on Ebola, flu will soon take center stage
By Marc Mazade, M.D.
Fever, headaches, joint and muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite.
Over the next few months, many children will have these symptoms and many parents will, and should, call their Cook Children’s pediatrician because of how their child’s feeling.
Unfortunately, many parents will assume the worst … Ebola. But the chances of that being a reality are extremely low. While knowing it’s not likely to be Ebola may be a relief, it’s important to remember that Ebola is not the only dangerous virus on the horizon for our children. The symptoms listed above are much more likely to be the flu.
Investigation of 25 outbreaks of Ebola over 38 years has shown that only direct contact with a person with Ebola would cause someone to become infected. Right now, there’s no approved vaccine to limit the epidemic in West Africa.
On the other hand, influenza can be deadly. The 2013-2014 flu season led to 108 pediatric deaths in this country. The flu is spread readily through the air by small droplets which can be infectious to someone near a person who is coughing and sneezing and is much more easily acquired and easily prevented through vaccination.
Please make sure to get your children the flu vaccine and parents should get them too! ASAP. Both injection and nasal mist vaccines are effective.