Flu Information for Parents and Families
Important information about this year's Flu from Ravi Jhaveri, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases.
The Flu season is well underway in 2013-2014. At this point, this season is off to an "average" start, but that does not mean that it will not still take a significant toll on us. Many factors determine how severe a Flu season will be:
- Circulating Strains-- Current testing shows that most of the Flu strains now are again the "pandemic" Influenza A H1N1. This strain has reappeared after a few years of reduced activity. It is not clear why it's reappeared this year, but this strain has been predominant all over the world. It appears to match well with the H1N1 component in this year’s vaccine. This strain is known for causing very severe disease for patients with obesity and pregnant patients.
- Current weather-- This year has been a typical cool winter. Influenza is transmitted much more efficiently in the air when it is cool and dry which helps to explain why Flu comes in the winter.
- Number of people vaccinated-- We recommend Flu vaccine for everyone and we give more Flu vaccine doses than ever. However, there are still many people that do not get or have not yet received vaccine. There could still be some benefit from receiving vaccine at this point in the season.
It is not too late to get vaccinated
As stated earlier, the strains now circulating appear to be a good match for this year’s vaccine, so if you have not received it yet, go get it! See your doctor, visit your drugstore or get it through your work if they offer it. This is particularly true if you or someone in your family is at high-risk for severe disease if infected with Flu.
Temporary Visitor Restrictions
Because of a rapid recent increase in flu cases, children less than 12 years old will be prohibited from visiting patients in the N.C. Children’s and N.C. Cancer hospitals starting January 6. Normal visiting policies remain in effect for the remaining areas within UNC Hospitals. Any visitor with fever, cough or other flu-like symptoms should stay at home.
For more information...