In my previous posts, I discussed ebola and enterovirus–both serious problems that we all have been following in the latest news reports. I have urged perspective. Let’s recall some statistics. As of this posting there has been one person who has died in the US of ebola and there have been 2 nurses who have since tested positive for the virus. The CDC has confirmed 796 EV-D68 infections in 46 states as of October 16. 2 children, including a Hamilton, NJ 4 year old have died “with”(as opposed to “from”) the infection. That is heartbreaking and tragic. However, keep in mind that currently there is no specific treatment or prevention for these infections.
Now let’s consider influenza. Estimates of flu infections vary, but generally there are as many as 200,000 people hospitalized and 36,000 deaths annually in the US. Pediatric deaths vary from 36-71 yearly, but in the 2009-10 outbreak 348 children died. Now, please recall that the influenza vaccine is both safe and effective. But it gets even better: it turns out that immunizing your child will protect your entire family, and especially your senior citizen loved ones. Flu shots are a major public health advantage for the entire community.
So bring your kids in so they can be protected from this serious disease. Then tell the grandparents: “Grandma and Grandpa, Dr. Geneslaw says ‘this shot’s for you!’ Now go out and buy your little heroes and heroines another present. Their bravery is protecting you as much as them. And science proves it.”