Flu season hits kids hard - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flu season hits kids hard

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November 22, 2006
by Sarah Baldwin

Donalsonville --  Parents like Chrisandra Williams have already noticed the hike in flu cases. "It seems to be really bad. Most of the kids at their school are out because of the flu. It seems to be really bad this year," she says.

Health officials say its because cases started popping up much earlier than in past years.  Dottie Brown of the Seminole County Health Department says "usually our flu season is anywhere from December to February we started seeing an outbreak in flu around early October."

Just in Seminole County they've already seen 85 cases this year. And almost all of them are elementary school children.  "When you put a lot of children together in the school system if they're coughing sneezing, lots of hands touching everything of course you're going to see an outbreak there first," Brown says.

"I still send her to school and I feel that if the nurse sees any problem then she'll send her back to me. But health officials say if your kids are showing flu symptoms, keep them home," says mother Noemi Torres.

"We try to keep them home as much as we can that way they don't get any of the other children sick because I know how hard it is when they're sick at home, I'd hate for any of the other parents to have to go through that," says Williams.

Some of the best ways to keep your children from getting sick are to teach them to use tissues when they cough or sneeze, have them wash their hands with soap and HOT water for at least 20 seconds, and don't let them share glasses or utensils with friends or family members.

The best thing you can do to avoid contracting the flu, is go get your flu shot.  Parents like Williams who opted out of getting their children vaccinated are now regretting it.  "Wish we would had though. That's why we're here now, because they're sick," she says.  

The Seminole County Health department still has some vaccines on hand and encourage everyone who wants one, to come by.

The Flu virus accounts for more than 200,000 hospital visits, and about 36,000 deaths in the U. S. each year

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