December 9th is Children’s Flu Vaccination Day. Listen to our podcast to get answers to your questions about influenza and the flu vaccine, as well as hear from a mother who lost her six month old son to flu.
Flu seasons come and go. It is a part of life. Most people don’t give it much of a thought, let alone a worry.
But for some of us, an influenza season can leave our bodies damaged, or even take a loved one from us.
Twenty years ago, at 14 years old, I was a healthy teenager on semester break coming down with a sore throat. But within hours, I realized something was very wrong. This was not an ordinary cold or “flu” virus that would be over in a few days.
The virus that attacked my body left me sicker than I ever imagined possible. And it didn’t leave after a few weeks. Six months later, an infectious diseases doctor at the Children’s hospital diagnosed me with Post Viral Syndrome. She was hopeful, “You are still young. Your body may be back to normal after a few months of rest.”
But it wasn’t. I spent most of my high school years too sick to go to school or participate in any sports or activities. By eighteen, when Susan was heading off to university, my body was failing me even more. I became almost completely bedridden, too ill to walk a block, or climb the stairs or even read a page in a book.
I was devastated. I wished I had cancer or something that someone could “see” or understand — and something that had an end.
Fortunately though, I didn’t have a terminal illness. And eventually I grew stronger and healthier. I was far from “normal,” but I was functioning.
Twenty years later, my body is still weak, my immune system forever altered by what happened to me so long ago.
And now, I don’t take health for granted. I am all too aware that influenza viruses can be more powerful than we think. They are not something to be taken lightly.
But while I had heard of some deaths due to influenza, I didn’t realize the number of children who die from influenza.
So, when Families Fighting Flu approached us to get the word out about the annual flu vaccination and to let parents know about the potentially fatal effects of the influenza, I clicked over to their website to read more about their organization.
I was heartbroken to see sweet young faces of children who had died from flu!
One of the mothers of those tiny victims, Julie Moise, joined us for a podcast to talk about her six month old son who died of influenza and to share about her role in Families Fighting Flu.
In 2003, shortly after Julie’s infant son, Ian, came down with influenza, he developed fatal complications and died.
I also interviewed Dr. Andrew Eisenberg with Families Fighting Flu and asked him about influenza and the flu vaccine. My questions included:
- What complications can arise from flu? How can the flu seriously harm or kill otherwise healthy children?
- If our child does become ill with flu, what should we do to keep them safe and as comfortable as possible?
- Is the flu vaccine safe?
- How well does a flu vaccine protect us and our children?
- Despite the many strains of flu, does getting vaccinated significantly reduce the risk of getting infected with flu?
Click on the players below to listen to my podcast interviews with Julie Moise, mother of Ian and board member of Families Fighting Flu, and with Dr. Andrew Eisenberg from Families Fighting Flu who answers questions about influenza and the flu vaccine.
About Families Fighting Flu, Inc.
Families Fighting Flu (FFF) is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization established in 2004 that is made up of families and healthcare practitioners.
Each family has experienced first-hand the death of a child due to the flu or has had a child experience severe medical complications from the flu. We are dedicated to educating people about the severity of influenza and the importance of vaccinating children against the flu every year.
Through education and advocacy, we hope to improve the rates of childhood flu vaccinations and help reduce the number of childhood illnesses and deaths caused by the flu each year. For more information, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org or call 1-888-2ENDFLU.
If you haven’t already gotten your child vaccinated against the flu – it is not too late. In fact December 8-14th is National Influenza Vaccination Week and Tuesday December 9th is Children’s Flu Vaccination Day.
For more information please visit www.familiesfightingflu.org