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Doctor: Flu more common after school breaks

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Monday marks the end of holiday break and the start of school again for many districts in central Indiana.

Docstors say they tend to see an uptick in the flu and other illnesses when kids head back from vacation.

“Typically, that’s a common occurrence, after any prolonged non-school or vacation time. They share their stories, share their toys and they share their germs,” said Dr. Karl Pryor, with Eskenazi Health.

Experts say flu cases are up a bit from this time last year. New numbers from the Indiana State Health Department show so far this flu season, 36 people have died in Indiana – most of those people above the age of 65.

But this year, experts say, influenza seems to be impacting children more. The health department’s latest numbers show 40 percent of reported cases in Indiana have been in people aged 5-24. Doctors say if your child hasn’t yet gotten the flu vaccine, it’s important they do. They say it takes about two weeks for it to start working.

“No vaccine is 100 percent. 80-90 percent is pretty good. I still do recommend the flu vaccine, because there are some strains it covers, some not so much, but you do want as much protection as possible. Any protection is better than no protection,” said Dr. Pryor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says even if the flu shot doesn’t cover a particular strain, it can still provide protection and could reduce more severe outcomes like hospitalization or death.

Dr. Pryor says it’s important to remind even the littlest ones about the importance of hand-washing, covering their mouths after coughing or sneezing, and washing those hands again.

He says if you think your child is coming down with something, don’t send them to school. It’s better not to share those germs.

For more information from the Indiana State Health Department, click here. For national trends from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.