AURORA, Colo. — The flu is now widespread, and doctors say it's hitting children particularly hard nationwide.
This season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 105 children have died from the flu across the country. That's worse than it's been in a decade, according to the CDC. Several of those deaths happened in Colorado.
"I think the flu has been a particularly bad year this year," said Dr. Chris Nyquist, medical director of infection prevention and control at Children's Hospital Colorado. "We have many kids ending up in our intensive care units. And we are regularly seeing influenza coming through our urgent care and our emergency department."
In Colorado, 2,430 people have been hospitalized for the flu this season, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). With several months left in this flu season, CDPHE said three Colorado kids have already died from the illness. That's the same number of pediatric deaths as all of last flu season.
Children don't always show the common, feeling like you were hit by a truck, flu symptoms that adults show.
"Each person has a little bit of a different way of showing they have influenza," Nyquist said. "We know that smaller children might have a fever and not feeding. toddlers might actually have things that make it look like a stomach virus."
The bottom line, she said, is that it's never too late to get vaccinated. New research from the CDC shows the flu vaccine is 55% effective in children and 45% overall.
"For kids under six months of age, they're not able to get the vaccine and so what's really important is to vaccinate all the children, adults, grandparents around that child to protect them," Nyquist said.
Just as important as the vaccine is washing hands, according to Nyquist. Keep yourselves and your kids clean, and avoid being around people with symptoms.
The state does not release numbers on adult flu deaths. Officials have said there have been 43 flu outbreaks in long-term care facilities like nursing homes. State health officials tell us that number is about normal.
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