Childhood flu cases on the rise in comparison to previous year
Hospitals have seen a dramatic increase in childhood flu cases in comparison to the previous flu season.
Memorial Medical Center says for their hospital, there have been 462 cases of flu recorded in Springfield for children age 17 and under.
That number is 4 times higher than last year. There were 114 flu cases for children at this time last year in Memorial Medical Center.
For HSHS St. John’s hospital, they have recorded 265 positive childhood flu cases at their hospital. At this time last year, they had only recorded 80 childhood flu cases.
But surrounding cities are also feeling its impact.
"I think because we haven't had as many kids get vaccinated this year. I think we knew we knew we were going to run into more cases this year, but the vaccine hasn't been as effective as we would like it to be. Somewhere between 10% to 20%," said Dr. Ashish John, a pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill, part of Memorial Health System.
But Springfield isn't the only city seeing a flu surge.
The Center for Disease Control has declared flu and pneumonia deaths an epidemic.
"Definitely one of the worst seasons we've dealt with. We've had a lot of kids getting sick with a particularly nasty type of influenza, especially the first part of the season that was going through," John said.
As the case numbers continue to rise, the impact goes beyond a child's health. It can also affect their learning patterns.
"Because they're out, they're sick, they're home so then when they get back in the routine of things, then we're playing catch up," Owner and Director of Pleasant Run Learning Center Jessica Shull said.
Shull also talked about once one child gets sick, it becomes a matter of making sure others stay healthy as well. Her daycare center has a strict policy about sick students. If one has a fever, they cannot come back until they are free of it for 24 hours or have a doctor’s note.
"Usually if one gets it, some get it, some more get it. But then you know if we're doing our job here, cleaning and sanitizing everything. We've tried to limit the exposure as much as we can and we are very proactive with things," Shull said.
While the flu season has been ongoing for nearly four months, doctors say it's still not too late to get a flu shot to try and help alleviate any chance they may have of getting the flu.