CLEVELAND — It’s been an unpredictable flu season, and children seem to be getting the worst of it this year.
According to Dr. Claudia Hoyen, kids are susceptible because we’re experiencing a double whammy.
"The amount of influenza A and B are about equal right now, which is really uncommon," Hoyen said.
Influenza B, which normally impacts children and young adults, kicked off last year; influenza A is hitting us now, and it affects children and seniors. It’s the reason many healthcare professionals are calling this a "double barrel" flu season.
"We could have another eight to 12 weeks of the flu season, depending on what's going on," Hoyen said.
It’s the reality that has doctors encouraging the flu shot again. So far this year, 92 children have died from the virus, with 62 of them attributed to influenza B.
"From a volume standpoint at Rainbow Babies and Children's, our volumes in January and the beginning of February were up very much, many of those were related to the flu," Hoyen said.
If you do notice your child has a fever that won’t break or is confused, experiencing chest pain, dehydration or trouble breathing, take them to the hospital. There’s still time to protect your little loved ones, though.
Start with the flu shot, encourage good hand hygiene and keep your child home when they’re sick.
"When you look at individual cases of the flu, we don't know which child is going to get really sick from the flu this year," Hoyen said.