Doctors are issuing renewed calls for parents to get flu vaccines for their children, as 32 children around the country, including one in Chicago, have already died from complications of the disease this flu season.
Doctors at Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance said it’s especially important this year as the strain of Influenza B is spreading far earlier, as the strain generally has a great impact later in the flu season.
"We know that these early cases are really different than what we’ve normally seen in the last three to four years here in Chicago," said Dr. Frank Belmonte with the Chicagoland Children's Health Alliance. “Even though the vaccine is not completely identical to the strains we’re seeing this year, we know that children who get the vaccine, if they get the flu, they tend to get a lighter illness, they tend to have decreased complications and decreased hospitalization.”
Doctors recommend that any child older than 6 months get the flu vaccine.
Most parents are taking the message seriously, including Melissa Lupo, who said getting a flu shot has helped her son in the past.
"There’s times where he’s gotten the flu shot and he’s gotten the flu, but because of the flu shot he was able to fight the illness at home or in a less severe situation,” Lupo said.
171.1 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed this season, according the CDC.