Primary Children’s Hospital seeing more pediatric flu cases

Dec 10, 2021, 1:15 PM

Flu Shot...

One-third of American parents have no plans to get their children vaccinated for the flu this year, according to the National Poll on Children's Health released Monday, despite the very real possibility their child could also catch the deadly Covid-19. Credit: CNK02/Shutterstock via CNN

SALT LAKE CITY — Primary Children’s Hospital is worried about the rising number of flu cases in Utah’s children.

Infectious disease physician with Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health, Dr. Trahern Jones, says cases are increasing quickly. 

“As of two weeks ago, we had 43 cases of flu throughout our system and that’s already jumped up to 125 last week. We anticipate this is only rising at an exponential rate. So, this has us fairly concerned,” said Dr. Jones. 

With an already difficult surge of RSV and COVID-19, Primary Children’s is experiencing a strain on resources with the addition of the flu

“It can be challenging to find all of the beds and rooms that are necessary to take care of these patients,” he said. “Sometimes we have to cohort patients together, meaning taking patients with the same viral infections, to keep them in the same room together.” 

In addition to supporting the COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 and older, Dr. Jones says parents should consider getting flu shots for their kids this year. 

“Something that we really want to encourage everybody to consider is to talk to your doctor to find out what flu vaccines are available and to get yourself covered and protected, to get your kids covered and protected, to take care of your kids, to take care of your community by seeking out the flu vaccine,” said Jones. 

The doctor says he understands why parents might not be thinking much about the flu after last winter where the flu was somewhat rare.

“We’re about 14% lower in terms of our vaccination rate for kids this flu season compared to last season at the same time of the year. So, we’re already not covering [and] protecting our children against flu with proper vaccination,” he explains.

However, he says kids with compromised immune systems will be especially vulnerable if they contract multiple illnesses at once, like COVID and the flu. 

In a news release, Intermountain says the flu can cause serious complications, especially for infants, elderly individuals, and people with weakened immune systems.

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