Friday, February 12, 2010

It’s not too late to protect your children and family from H1N1 flu

Just before last Halloween, 7-year-old Trevor Lin of Clifton Park, N.Y., began showing symptoms of a mild cough, according to his father, Henry Lin. It got worse, and two days later his father brought him to the emergency room. Both doctors and his dad — a general surgeon —believed that Trevor had croup, so he was treated and sent home. But the next day, Trevor collapsed and died two hours later from complications from H1N1.

Unfortunately, Trevor’s story, which Henry Lin recounted during a National Influenza Vaccination Week event last month, is far from the only one involving children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 880 and 1,810 children died from H1N1 flu from April 2009 to January 2010.

Children are at particular risk from H1N1, also known as swine flu, because their immune systems are not as advanced as adults, making it more dangerous for them to become infected, according to U.S. health officials. That’s why children and those who come into contact with kids are especially encouraged to get the H1N1 vaccine.

Now that more supplies of H1N1 vaccine are available, anyone who wants to get the shot can become protected against the disease — and it’s not too late. While cases of H1N1 have declined in recent months, CDC officials say it’s possible that there could be another wave of flu infections and sporadic cases this summer. So now is the time to get protected.

Visit the clinic locator to find a shot near you, or check with your neighborhood pharmacy. The shot is safe, effective and is the single best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from the spread of H1N1.

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