Severe and deadly flu season, children are particularly vulnerable

Severe and deadly flu season. (WPEC)

The deadly strain of the flu is here in Florida and claiming lives. Walk-in clinics are swamped with patients. Workers are calling in sick. Some schools are even closing.

“What we’re seeing is definitely the peak,” said Dr. Devon Kumar with the Free Standing Emergency Center at Delray Medical Center. “We're seeing a tremendous rise in cases, and people coming in with classic symptoms. The illness is very severe early on.”

He said the flu bug is stronger than ever this season because there is a strain that’s more prevalent and is not protected by the vaccine called H3N2. It’s spreading like wildfire, and it’s worse for children and the elderly.

"People even describe it as getting hit by a freight train,” explained Dr. Kumar. “Because it's so rapid. They usually get evaluated very early, because people get sick early on."

The best defense , wash your hands and get vaccinated.

"We want people to get vaccinated at this time because they still recommend throughout the whole season, especially the high-risk population: pregnant women, children, elderly, people with a lot of other illnesses like diabetes, or lung disease,” said Dr. Kumar.

At least two pediatric deaths in the state of Florida. Right now, the state is not releasing where.

Schools in at least 7 states are temporarily closed because of widespread outbreaks of the flu virus.

40% of one Idaho school had the flu, forcing the shutdown.

If your child gets sick, doctors suggest waiting 24 hours after their fever breaks, without any fever-reducing medications, to send them back to school.

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