ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Each year, between five and 20 percent of the population get the flu. It’s a respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat, and lungs. Sound familiar? That’s because its symptoms are nearly identical to coronavirus, with the only known difference being loss of taste and smell. And with COVID still around, parents are worried about tackling both this fall and winter. So, what can you do to best protect your children from COVID this flu season? Ivanhoe has the answers.
Coronavirus will be a new battle we face this flu season, and while social distancing is in effect, there are still close carriers to stir the confusion … school children.
“That’s all you need to get influenza around your community, is kids in school,” stated Kenneth Alexander, MD, PhD, Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida.
So, how can you protect your kids? Doctors say it’s important, now more than ever, to get a flu vaccine.
“It’s not only to protect ourselves, it’s to protect the people around us that we care about,” continued Dr. Alexander.
And it’s even more important if you’ve already had coronavirus.
“There’s a good chance you may have some lung injury, and we don’t want to add influenza lung injury on top of that,” said Dr. Alexander.
The flu vaccine doesn’t prevent COVID, so there’s still the need for children to be socially distant.
“It’s co-horting. Keeping children in small groups so that if one child in the group gets infected, it doesn’t infect the whole classroom,” explained Dr. Alexander.
And be sure to establish a daily routine with your kids. Give them a spare mask and hand sanitizer for the day. Instruct them to only touch the non-cloth parts of their masks. And remind them to wash their hands throughout the day as well as when they return home. Keep their shoes at the door and wash their uniforms after one wear.
Dr. Alexander suggests getting a flu shot at the first opportunity possible. Kids can start getting a flu shot at six months. Remind your kids to be aware of what they touch, and to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. It should take at least 20 seconds to wash their hands, which is equivalent to singing happy birthday twice. Also keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Contributors to this news report include: Addlyn Teague, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
PROTECT YOUR KIDS FROM COVID THIS FLU SEASON
BACKGROUND: The flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. The flu spreads mostly from person to person, and people with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes, or talks. You can inhale the droplets directly, or you can pick up the germs from an object and then transfer them to your eyes, nose, or mouth. Early symptoms can include fatigue, body aches and chills, cough, sore throat, and fever. For most people, influenza resolves on its own, but sometimes its complications, can be deadly.
COVID AND FLU: This will be the first time for a flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have always taken flu season seriously, getting vaccinated as soon as the flu shot becomes available. But, with a new virus in the mix, should our approach change? The CDC estimates that the 2019-2020 U.S. flu season caused 410,000 hospitalizations and 18 million medical visits. “While the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective, evidence shows that the vaccine is really good at preventing flu-related hospitalizations, which is important every year, but will be especially important this year with the COVID-19 pandemic still going on,” said Wesley Long, MD, director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist. Some people may be worried that getting a flu shot may make you more susceptible to catching another illness, such as COVID-19. “The flu vaccine and your immune system don’t work that way,” says Dr. Long. “It’s completely safe to get a flu vaccine during this pandemic. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do for your health.”
FLU DRUG IN COVID TRIALS: While the drug, remdesivir, is intended for reducing recovery time in the most severe COVID cases, U.S. doctors are also testing an influenza drug made by a Japanese photography company with hopes that it may help a wider range of patients. Favipiravir works by preventing the virus from replicating in cells. Fujifilm began a phase 2 clinical trial in Massachusetts which called for about 50 patients and is taking place in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “We expect the drug will enhance clearance of virus and shorten the duration of COVID-19 illness,” says Robert Finberg, chair of the school’s Department of Medicine. Health centers in China and Japan have been studying favipiravir as a COVID-19 treatment for months. It also has been tested in Italy, and a trial is set to begin in India. In one clinical trial in China, patients taking the drug tested negative for coronavirus after a median of four days, less than half the 11 days it took for patients in a control group. While noting an apparent lack of drug resistance with favipiravir, researchers said it should not be given to pregnant women due to its negative effects on animal embryos.
* For More Information, Contact:
Margot Winick, Public Relations Program Manager – Florida
Nemours Children’s Health System
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