Why are US kids dying due to the flu?

The flu season in the US, this year, has claimed more than a hundred children's lives, according to latest estimates from the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) The flu season in the US, this year, has claimed more than a hundred children’s lives, according to latest estimates from the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The US has recently been facing a tripledemic of flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and Covid-19 infections. While RSV and Covid cases have come down, flu cases are still rising.

“Seasonal influenza activity remains elevated and is increasing in some areas of the country. Covid-19 activity is decreasing in many areas of the country. RSV activity is decreasing in all areas of the country,” the CDC said in its weekly FluView update.

H1N1 strain (Swine flu) was the most reported influenza virus, followed by H3N2. About 10 kids died in the period between December and March, and raised the season’s total to 103, the CDC said.

Of the 10, six died due to influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2 strain), four due to influenza B.

According to experts, lack of vaccination, and mistaking it for another cold virus are the major reasons for flu deaths among kids.

Data shows that just over 50 per cent of children took the flu vaccination this year.

“There is a popular misconception among families that flu is just another cold virus, and that it’s no big deal,” Dr Kristina Bryant, a paediatric infectious disease physician at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky, was quoted as saying by NBC news.

The contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, and throat, affects children badly. It raises the risk of compromising breathing as the kids have smaller airways. As the virus spreads and inflames the airways, breathing becomes difficult, increasing the risk of hospitalisation and death.

The CDC recommends annual flu shots for everyone six months and older, which can halve the risk of hospitalisation and even curb the risk of death.

–IANS

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