Influenza is the only respiratory virus disease that can be prevented by vaccination, yet the vaccination coverage of children in Poland hovers around 1 percent. Her symptoms, especially this year, may be mistaken for a coronavirus infection, which will put parents under great pressure. It's worth saving yourself.
This year is special in many respects, also related to healthcare. The world fears the coronavirus. However, other pathogens are also on the attack, some of them very dangerous. Among them is the flu virus. Every year in Poland it causes disease in over 2 million children up to the age of 14. This is as much as 45 percent. the sick population.
Children, especially those under the age of 5, are particularly at risk of complications from the flu. The most common are: pneumonia, bronchiolitis, otitis media, febrile convulsions, myocarditis, encephalopathy. Each of these diseases not only puts a heavy strain on the child's immune system, but also in many cases requires antibiotic therapy. It is often necessary to hospitalize a small patient, which is associated with unpleasant medical procedures, including putting on a cannula, drawing blood, but it also strongly affects the mental condition of the child. A stay in a hospital is a lot of stress for him, especially in times of a pandemic.
Flu vaccination. What do you need to know?
In Poland, influenza vaccination is included in the Preventive Vaccination Calendar as recommended, which means that parents have to pay for the vaccination out of their own pocket. Its cost is about PLN 50. The price is several times lower than in the case of other recommended vaccines, e.g. against rotavirus, meningococcus or tick-borne encephalitis. So why only 1 percent. parents decide to vaccinate their child against flu? According to specialists, this is because our society is downplaying this serious disease.
It also seems we do not trust the vaccine that has to be given every year. We are used to being protected against the disease by 2-3 pricks. However, the annual flu vaccination is due to the specificity of the virus. It undergoes very rapid changes. The World Health Organization announces a new composition of vaccines every year. In the 2020/2021 season, children are recommended to receive a 4-valent vaccine, which includes two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B.
The most common complications of flu in children
Flu in the COVID-19 Era
For several months now, the whole world has been struggling with the coronavirus pandemic. There are more and more people suffering from COVID-19, also among children. However, it should be remembered that this is not the only disease that we may struggle with. Our immune system attacks many pathogens on a daily basis. Some of them can cause symptoms of infection, while others will be overcome very quickly by an efficient immune system. Among them, however, is the flu virus - an extremely dangerous opponent. It attacks suddenly, giving many bothersome and disturbing symptoms, incl. fever, headache and muscle pain, chills. No wonder then that we would like the child to be examined by a doctor in such a situation. In times of pandemic, however, it may be difficult.
It will also be difficult to distinguish between coronavirus infection and flu. Although these diseases differ, their symptoms, especially in the initial stage of infection, may be similar. The final diagnosis should be confirmed by a test. However, taking a smear is unpleasant, much more so than a single prick when vaccinated. But also in this field recently changes have taken place. New forms of the flu vaccine have appeared on the market - intranasal, which you should talk to your pediatrician about.
It is best to vaccinate children against flu in the fall. It should take 2-3 weeks for antibodies to neutralize the flu virus to develop. The young body will therefore be ready for contact with the virus in early 2021, when flu is expected to increase significantly. And even if our child gets sick, it will most likely pass the infection mildly and will not develop complications.