CHOC Recommends Flu Preventive Guidelines

Have you seen the movie Contagion? What did you think? It’s certainly causing moviegoers to think twice about the possibility of a virus of that magnitude! Well, while the events portrayed in this movie are fiction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an infectious disease outbreak with that kind of impact could indeed happen. Luckily, the CDC and other dedicated U.S. and international agencies are working hard every day at preventing an outbreak like that, and keeping the community safe through research, education and prevention efforts.

On a smaller scale, the flu is a common, yet serious contagious disease that we need to stay informed on, especially with the flu season just around the corner in the fall. In the United States, influenza (flu) season usually begins in October and can last until May. The key to protecting your family is prevention.

The most recent flu vaccine recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stress the importance of getting a new flu shot this season. CHOC Children’s Hospital couldn’t agree more. The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against the same three influenza strains as last year’s vaccine, including the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused the first global pandemic in more than 40 years and resulted in substantial illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

It’s recommended that everyone 6 months or older receive an influenza vaccine. Special efforts should be made to immunize all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children who are younger than 5 years; children with high-risk conditions (asthma, diabetes, or neurologic disorders); health care personnel; and all women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or breastfeeding during the flu season.

In addition, the AAP recommends the following guidelines for administering the influenza vaccine to children depending on the child’s vaccine history and age at the time of the first administered dose:

• Infants younger than 6 months are too young to be immunized.
• Children 9 years of age and older need only one dose of influenza vaccine.
• Children 6 months through 8 years of age need only one dose of the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine if they received at least 1 dose last season.
• Children 6 months through 8 years of age should receive two doses if they did not receive any vaccine last season. The second dose should be administered at least four weeks after the first.
• An intradermal vaccine has been recommended for people 18 through 64 years of age.

For more tips and guidelines on the seasonal flu, please click here: http://www.choc.org/pressroom/news.cfm?nid=536

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National Immunization Awareness Month

August, National Immunization Awareness Month, is the perfect time to remind family, friends, and co-workers, to get up to date with their vaccinations to protect themselves from serious, life-threatening infections.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the need for protection is underscored by current outbreaks of pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” which has killed six infants in California this year, as well as recent outbreaks of Hib meningitis in Minnesota and measles in the San Diego area.

Check out these great sites for more information, including a must-see video with Dr. Jasjit Singh:
http://chocspace.org/choco/page/2/
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam/default.htm

Pertussis: What Parents Should Know

Pertussis has certainly been getting a lot of press lately, but what exactly is it? Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, and young infants are particularly vulnerable. It’s transmitted through close respiratory contact with someone who is infected.

Some of the first symptoms in adults and children include, a runny nose, sneezing, a mild, dry cough, and slight fever.

As of June 30th, in California there have been 1,337 cases of pertussis reported in 2010, including five infant deaths – in what seems to be the worst year of pertussis that our state has seen in more than 50 years.

To protect our community against the current epidemic levels of whooping cough, experts at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated.

In addition to the typical series of childhood pertussis immunizations, CDPH now recommends an adolescent-adult pertussis booster vaccine (T-dap). Adults who have contact with children under the age of 12 months, particularly new moms, are among those recommended to get the T-dap.

Please visit the Orange County Health Care Agency website http://ochealthinfo.com/pertussis for the most up-to-date recommendations and vaccine availability for you and your family.

Flu Season Not Quite Over

Orange County has been getting plenty of sunshine these last couple days! Although we usually associate the flu season with colder temperatures – due to people staying inside and more likely to spread germs, as well as drier air – the flu season isn’t over yet! In fact, the flu season usually peaks anywhere from November through March.

Check out this link http://www.choc.org/specialties/index.cfm?id=P00506 for all you need to know about the H1N1 and seasonal flu, including symptoms, when to seek treatment, and a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the latest updates.

What Parents and Caregivers Should Know About the H1N1 Virus

CHOC Children’s encourages parents and caregivers to log onto www.choc.org for critical information about the H1N1 and seasonal flu, including symptoms, when to seek treatment, a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other valuable resources.

video_h1n1

Be sure to check out “H1N1 Influenza – What the Public Should Know,” a must-see video, presented by Jasjit Singh, M.D., CHOC pediatric infectious disease subspecialist.

Also, don’t forget to talk to your children about practicing good respiratory etiquette and proper hand washing techniques to help avoid the spread of germs.  Remember, prevention is the key to fighting many infectious diseases.