The Influx Of Influenza
In the 2009-2010 flu season there were 282 pediatric deaths associated with influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now, pharmacies and hospitals encourage flu vaccinations and the mortality rate has decreased. Flu-associated pediatric deaths declined to 34 deaths for the 2011-2012 season.
Flu pandemics have a place in our history. There have been four pandemics since 1918.
The flu pandemic in 1918 lasted a year and was called the Spanish flu. The Spanish flu saw high mortality rates among health adults. There was reported 50 million deaths worldwide and 675,000 deaths in the United States, according to Flu.gov.
In the 1957-1958 flu season, about 69,800 people in the United States died, with the elderly having the highest death rates. Immunity to the strain of influenza was rare for those younger than 65, so children got it from schools and brought it home with them.
In 1958, another wave of the 1957 flu came, showing pandemic second waves can occur, according to Flu.gov.
A decade later, the mildest flu pandemic in history occurred, called the Hong Kong flu. The Hong Kong flu hit when children were out of school and was very similar to the 1957 flu, which may account for the low mortality rate.
The most recent pandemic of the flu was when the Swine Flu (H1N1) virus hit. The pandemic began in April 2009 and was declared a public health emergency by the U.S. government.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a vaccine for the virus with about 43 million to 89 million people having the H1N1 virus. People at the highest risk got the vaccination first. Most cases of H1N1 were in young people.
Seasonal flu is predictable, starting in the fall and ending in the spring. School-aged children sick at home with flu-like illness are a good indicator that the season has begun.
Seasonal flu is a respiratory infection that is contagious and caused by different flu viruses. The earlier flu symptoms are recognized the faster the recovery, according to WebMD.com.
Flu symptoms are abrupt with the onset of fever, headache, fatigue and body aches. Seasonal flu symptoms include weakness, dry cough and sore throat. Other symptoms may be watery discharge from your throat and ill appearance with warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes.
The treatment for flu depends on the symptoms. If a symptom is a sore throat, drink lots of fluids. If it is a cough, try cough medicine.
Taking antibiotics, however, is not necessary because they treat bacteria and not viruses like the flu. Doing so may increase the risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.
Pandemic Flu History
Retrieved October 15, 2012.
FluView. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Retrieved October 15, 2012. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/
Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center. Webmd.com
Retrieved October 15, 2012.
Reviewed October 16, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith