Mom’s Heartbreaking Reminder to Get Family Flu Shots
There are a lot of families who have been worriedly watching the news, monitoring the spread of this year's dangerous flu virus. Some of my friends have been on a group text exchanging what the latest flu reports are, noting the frightening rise in deaths from children. There have been reports of deaths all over the country, from Michigan to Florida, making it seem like nowhere is really safe to avoid the virus.
The CDC also has a weekly flu tracker, where you can get up-to-date information about where the flu is spreading and how many deaths have resulted from the flu. For example, in week 5 of the tracking, Jan 28-February 3, 2018, 10 new pediatric deaths from the flu were reported. The deaths were from both Influenza A and B strains. And shockingly, there have been a total of 63 pediatric deaths related to the flu over the course of the 2017-2018 flu season so far.
Of course, this is not information anyone necessarily wants to see, but it's still helpful to keep yourself aware.
All of the talk about the flu may have you wondering: If you haven't gotten flu shots for your family yet, is it too late? Should you schedule them now or hope for the best and make a mental note to be sure to get the vaccines earlier next year? I have to confess that I'm totally one of those parents who has been wondering that.
I meant to get my family flu shots this year because I knew how bad the season can be and with kids who are in elementary school and a husband in a middle school working as a teacher, we catch everything. I fully intended on getting all of us signed up for the flu shot, but then … I never actually did it. I didn't want to wait for 2 hours in our pediatrician's office, especially when the kids were healthy, with all four of my kids, and taking them anywhere else alone seemed much too daunting. I asked my husband to help me take them somewhere after school, such as a Walgreen's, for the flu shots. And, of course, he never got around to telling me a day that worked for him either. (Because kids' health is always a mom's job, right? *eye roll*)
On and on I delayed, until I'm here now, pretty panicked about the flu. Our family even has an upcoming “staycation” soon at a waterpark and I'm terrified just thinking of the millions and trillions of germs just waiting for us in the steamy resort. So, is it too late for the vaccine that could potentially save your child's life? Nope, says the CDC. It's definitely not too late; they are still recommending vaccinations now. Bottom line, any form of protection you can take now is better than nothing.
And if that doesn't convince you (and me), the heartbreaking stories of parents who have lost children to the flu just might change your minds too. For example, Mimma Mallozzi has shared the story of her 10-year-old son, Nico, a boy she called healthy “like an ox” due to his hardy nature and the fact that he never got sick. So when Nico came down with what appeared to be a totally “normal” version of the virus one weekend at his Connecticut home, his family never expected that he could be in danger.
Somehow, despite never having a medical issue in his life, Nico's infection went from bad to worse. Having initially felt better to travel with his hockey team, Nico took a turn for the worse after the hockey tournament. In typical mom intuition fashion, his mother knew that something was wrong and called 911. Nico ultimately ended up passing away from sepsis and pneumonia, complications from the flu.
Our hearts go out to Nico's family and I share his story not to spread fear, but only awareness. It's important for us all to be vigilant about the flu, look for complications with the virus (especially if your child seems to recover, then get worse again, as this could signal sepsis starting), and get vaccinated if you can. Because right now, it's not too late.