YORK TOWNSHIP, PA -- Health experts are warning families after a busy, and at times, deadly flu season last year, to get themselves, and more importantly, their children injected with the flu vaccine as soon as possible.
The 2019-2020 flu season started in late September, and at Wellspan Pediatric Health on Joppa Road, Dr. Sean Campbell is making sure every parent knows why their kids need a flu shot.
"The flu is very infectious," Campbell said. "[The flu shot] not only protects your health and your family's health, but protects parents at work because someone has got take care of the baby when they’re sick."
Last year was one of the most potent flu seasons on record for children, with more than 48,000 kids nationwide getting hospitalized due to complications from the virus, and 187 children dying , according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
Which is why for his first birthday, Connor O'Neill's birthday present from his pediatrician is a number of vaccines, including the flu shot, directly into his leg. Conner's mom, Danielle, says she never gave any hesitation into whether her son would get vaccinated.
"To me, it's just preventing the spread of [the flu], preventing other people from getting it, and keeping [Conner] as safe as possible," she said.
Flu vaccines can typically be found at most pharmacies and health clinics, in addition to your pediatrician's office. To find a flu shot near you, the CDC has a vaccine finder available here.
In addition to making sure families are aware of the importance of the flu shot, the Pennsylvania Department of Health wants to make sure parents are aware of the "3 C's" of flu season.
From the Department of Health's website:
Cover – The flu spreads through droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk. This is why it is so important to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, but also to cover with your elbow and not your hands, as if you cough or sneeze into your hands, anything you touch afterward would become contaminated with those droplets.
Clean – As mentioned above, the flu can be spread through touching surfaces with hands that have the droplets on. This is why it is essential to frequently wash your hands during flu season, whether you are sick or not. Also, make sure to disinfect door knobs, light switches, counter tops, remotes, cell phones and anything that is used by more than one person.
Contain – If you or your child is sick with the flu, stay home. People who have the flu are contagious, and remaining home will allow them to recover easier than trying to push through work or school. We encourage employers to tell their employees if they are sick to stay home.