Now that it’s gotten to the point that I’ve lost track of how many people I know who have gotten this year’s flu, it’s time Breezy Mama got the facts on why exactly it’s so bad and spreading like crazy. Turning to one of our favorite pediatricians, Dr. Shakha Gillin, Co-founder of Coast Pediatrics Del Mar , we got the scoop on the strains going around (Yep – more than one!), what to watch out for, what other illnesses are going around right now and more.
If your child has a flu shot this year, can they still catch it?
Yes. The flu vaccine is a match this year, but your child still needs to form a good antibody response to it. Your child also needs time to produce those antibodies.
But, the chance of getting the bad flu (hospitalization and worse) is significantly reduced if your child gets the flu vaccine.
This is why we give our kids the vaccine — to protect their vulnerable lungs, and bodies from the influenza virus, which can be a very strong virus.
What symptoms are of particular concern with this season’s flu?
As we know, influenza gives you a fever, sore throat, body aches, cough, and nasal symptoms. We give our kids fever reducers, lots of fluids, and rest.
However, there are some severe symptoms that are of significant concern. Pneumonia, dehydration, and brain symptoms are worrisome. If your child has labored breathing (chest), signs of dehydration, or any change of mental status they need to be evaluated by their doctor.
Are there various strains going around?
Yes. Influenza A (swine) and B.
What differentiates the cold from the flu?
Usually a cold is pretty mild. Influenza has high fevers, body aches, and makes kids more likely to want to rest.
What else is going around right now parents should be cautious of?
The stomach “flu”, which is not influenza. It’s a different virus causing vomiting and diarrhea. The key is to keep the kids hydrated. And of course try to prevent getting the virus by washing hands before you eat.
Also, we have RSV going around. This causes cold-like symptoms in older kids and adults, but can cause wheezing, and severe lung infections in very young or premature babies. So keep your babies away from anyone sick.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes. Please stay home if you have the flu. Last I checked, no one else wanted to share that virus with you.
Co-founder of Coast Pediatrics Del Mar , Shakha Gillin, MD, FAAP, has been in North County since 1990. She attended UCSD for her undergraduate education and for medical school. She did her residency at UC Irvine, and was the chief resident at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach. She practiced pediatrics in La Jolla for 5 years and Encinitas for 5 years. She has also worked at a private practice in Newport Beach and at the Rady Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.
Dr. Shakha Gillin has a special interest in preventative care, particularly healthy and active lifestyles for children. She was recognized by San Diego Magazine as a “Top Doctor” in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. She was recognized as “Best Pediatrician” by Ranch and Coast in 2011 and 2012.
For more information and to contact Dr. Gillin, visit: www.coastpediatrics.com