WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Flu season is here and Indiana is getting hit hard. Of the 27 people who have died from the flu, two were under the age of 18.
Dr. Timothy Snyder said it's something that needs to be taken serious especially when there are young children in your home.
"We are seeing the flu here in Lafayette," Snyder said. "In our practice we've seen one or two kids with the flu."
Children can get their first flu vaccine when they're just six months old, but Snyder said it doesn't always work.
"We've actually had a child who tested positive for the flu that had the vaccine, so while we encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine we recognize even those vaccinated there's still some risk," Snyder said.
If your child is too young for the vaccine there are some important steps you can take to protect their developing immune system. In addition to washing your hands, getting plenty of rest, and staying hydrated Snyder said the best way to protect a young child who may not be old enough to get the flu vaccine is by first protecting the rest of the family.
"We encourage family members to be vaccinated," Snyder said. "If there are school-age siblings we encourage that they be vaccinated because most likely they will bring the infection home from school."
Lafayette School Corporation Nursing Coordinator Sue Bergstrom said it doesn't take much for the flu to spread in schools, and suggested that if your child is showing flu-like symptoms you should keep them home from school.
"If kids are here at school with a fever and they're coughing within 6 feet those germs will spread and it can go quickly, so we're not seeing that right now but it's good to keep alert and the nurses are all alert," Bergstrom said.
School nurses are tracking absences due to flu-related illnesses, but Bergstrom said the number of children missing school because they're sick isn't out of the ordinary this time of year. Taking preventative measures to stay healthy and avoid the flu will only help that number go down.
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