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11/14/19news article

Dayton Children’s receives its first flu admissions

hospital hosts flu shot clinic, urges families to get vaccinated, implements visitor restrictions

Flu cases are beginning to grow at Dayton Children’s – we’ve had our first inpatient admission for the 2019-2020 flu season.  To protect our most vulnerable patients, Dayton Children’s is implementing visitor restrictions to the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).

  • Children younger than 13 years of age are not permitted to visit the NICU.
  • Adults visiting the NICU are screened for signs of cold and flu and may not visit if showing any symptoms.

get the vaccine now

The flu can be a deadly serious illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there have already been two cases of flu-associated deaths in children this season. During the 2018-2019 flu season, the CDC confirmed 138 pediatric deaths. Dayton Children’s urges anyone who has not yet been immunized to get their flu vaccine.

“The flu vaccine is safe and effective,” says Sherman Alter, MD, chief, division of infectious disease at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “Everyone older than 6 months should get the flu vaccine. It protects against the strains of flu most likely to circulate this season and lessens symptoms of strains not included in the vaccine. For a child’s first-ever flu shot, he or she will need to get two doses, given four weeks apart.”

To get your child’s flu vaccine, parents have several options:

Dayton Children’s will also be holding a flu shot clinic at its Huber Heights urgent care on November 16 from 8:00 am to noon. Appointments are available for kids 6 months and older and will be scheduled on a first come, first serve basis. To schedule your appointment, call 937-641-3310.

more ways to stop germs

Excellent hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses, including the flu.

Parents can teach and reinforce these good hand washing habits:

  • Use soap and warm water to create a good lather.
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds—about as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
  • Alcohol-based hand cleaners are OK if soap and water are not available.
  • Make sure you get in between the fingers and under the nails where uninvited germs like to make a home. And don't forget the outside of the thumbs and wrists!
  • Rinse and dry well with a clean cloth or paper towel.

“To minimize the germs passed around your family, make frequent hand washing a rule for everyone,” says Dr. Alter. “Key times for hand washing include after being outside and after blowing one’s nose, coughing or sneezing, before and after visiting sick friends or relatives, before eating and cooking, after using the restroom, after cleaning the house, after touching animal and family pets.”

In addition to good hand washing, here are six more things that you can do to prevent getting or spreading the flu.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Dispose of tissue immediately.
  • If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into a shirt sleeve.
  • Never share cups and eating utensils.
  • Keep sick children at home. Children should stay out of school or day care until they are better—usually seven days after the illness starts.
  • Eat healthy
  • Get enough sleep.

what if my child gets the flu?

Even if you follow all the precautions, a child may still come down with the cold or flu. How do you know which is which?

  • The flu: High fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, cough (sometimes severe), exhaustion, loss of appetite and sore throat.
  • The cold: Low fever if any, runny nose, little coughing; child's appetite and energy level are usually not affected.

Dr. Alter says the best way to treat children who have the flu is to make sure they get extra rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat light, easy-to-digest foods like applesauce. Go to your pediatrician, family doctor or urgent care if you have any concerns about the flu.

“Parents should pay close attention to children younger than 2 years old because they have smaller airways and cannot handle illness as well as older children or adults would,” says Dr. Alter. “Parents should contact a pediatrician if children have any serious symptoms.”

Alter Sherman

Sherman Alter, MD

division chief infectious disease
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