Learning About The Flu and Children With Chronic Health Issues

It’s flu season again.

Influenza or the flu, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by the influenza virus. Children younger than five and those with chronic health conditions are at a greater risk for serious flu complications.

A child might be at greater risk for flu-related complications if they have any of the following conditions:

• Asthma
• Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
• Chronic lung disease
• Heart disease
• Blood disorders
• Endocrine disorders
• Kidney or liver disorders
• Morbid obesity
• Metabolic disorders
• Weakened immune system
• On long-term aspirin therapy

Most people who get the flu recover in up to two weeks. Some people can develop complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections, according to the CDC. If a child appears sick, call or take them to a doctor and otherwise keep them at home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever.

It also should be stressed that children with chronic health conditions only should receive the flu shot and not the nasal spray variation. Children under age nine might need two doses of the vaccine.

To read a guide about the flu for parents of children or adolescents with chronic health conditions, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/updated/chronichealth_fluguide_brochure.pdf

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov or www.flu.gov. People who prefer phone contact can call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.