11 things parents need to know about the flu, the vaccine, how long kids need to stay out of school

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 12:27 PM

Ohio has reported the third flu-related infant death this season.

The Centers for Disease and Prevention are reporting higher than average cases of influenza across the country this flu season.

Forty-six states have seen widespread flu, and 13 children have died from complications of the virus since October.

Influenza in children, especially young children can be very dangerous.

Here are 11 things parents need to know about the 2017-2018 influenza season.

What is the flu?

Influenza is a virus that infects the nose, throat and lungs.

What are signs of the flu?

Signs of the flu include high fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, dry cough and sore muscles. Children who have contracted the flu may also have stomach pain and/or diarrhea. Symptoms of the flu will come on quickly. 

>>What is the H3N2 flu and how bad is flu season this year?

Is the flu vaccine the best way to protect children?

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend annual flu vaccinations for everyone age 6 months and older. The vaccination offers protection against the influenza strains researchers believe will be the most likely to spread in a given flu season. 

Is the vaccination still available in nasal spray? 

In year’s past, the vaccine was available via nose spray. It is now available only in shot form. A new vaccine -- the quadrivalent vaccine – is available this year. The vaccine is designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. While the quadrivalent vaccine is one of several vaccines available, health officials do not give preference for one type over another.

Can’t you can't get the flu from the flu vaccine?

Influenza vaccines are made from an inactivated virus that can't transmit infection. You will not catch the flu from the vaccine. There can be side effects – pain, tenderness and slight swelling at the site of the injection – and some infants can run a fever after the shot. If a child is vaccinated but still gets the flu, he or she will likely have a milder version of the disease. In previous years, 90 percent of those children who died after contracting the flu had not been inoculated against the disease.

Can the flu vaccine be given with other vaccines? 

Yes, it can.

What if my child has an egg allergy?

Eggs are used in the production of the virus, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get the flu shot if you have an egg allergy. If your child’s allergy is mild to moderate, they will likely have no problem with the shot. If your child has a severe reaction to eggs, he or she can still get the vaccination, but it should be given by a physician who can monitor the child for a severe reaction to eggs. 

>> Read more trending news

Can children take antiviral medication if they get the flu?

Yes children can get take antiviral medication should they get the flu. Children can take Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). Antivirals are most effective when given within 48 hours of feeling the symptoms of the flu. Antibiotics will not help if you have influenza. The flu is a virus.

What are the signs of flu complications that should make you consider taking your child to the hospital? 

(From the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics)

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

How long can a sick child spread the flu to others?

Generally, people who have the flu can spread it to others from one day before symptoms begin to five to seven days after feeling ill. Children may pass the virus along for longer than 7 days, the CDC warns. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body.

When do you know it's over? When can they go back to school or daycare?

The CDC recommends a child with the flu stay at home until they are free of a fever for at least 24 hours. They should be fever-free without the use of a fever-reducing medication, such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). 

If you have any questions about the flu or the flu shot, check out the CDC site flu.gov.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the American Academy of Pediatrics; WebMD

FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 file photo, a flu vaccine injection is administered at the Brownsville Events Center by a pharmacist in Brownsville, Texas. According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, this year's flu season is off to a quick start and so far it seems to be dominated by a nasty bug.(Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

Trending - Most Read Stories

President Donald Trump admits to trying to hide his bald spot

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 11:14 PM

U.S. President Donald Trump jokes about covering his bald spot while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference.
 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump jokes about covering his bald spot while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Over the years, much has been speculated about President Donald Trump’s hair, but he’s never admitted to having a reason for choosing his particular hairstyle other than the fact that it’s the way he “likes it.” However, on Friday, that all changed when he finally admitted to having a bald spot — and trying to hide it.

>> Read more trending news

“Oh, I try like hell to hide the bald spot, folks. I work at it,” he told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland. “It doesn’t look bad. Hey, we are hanging in, we are hanging in, we are hanging in there. Right? Together, we are hanging in.”

Trump’s honest take on his hair came after a video of him boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on Feb. 2 revealed a bald spot on the back of his head when his signature mane was whipped by the gusty wind.

Trump’s hair has been a topic of conversation for years, and he has often talked about it himself. In a much-maligned interview on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” the late-night host was allowed to mess up then-candidate Trump’s hair to prove that it was real.

Trump has also made it clear multiple times that he doesn’t wear a wig or a “rug” as he’s called it. “As everybody knows, but the haters and losers refuse to acknowledge, I do not wear a ‘wig.’ My hair may not be perfect, but it’s mine,” he once wrote on Twitter.

“I do not wear a rug. My hair is 100 percent mine. No animals have been harmed in the creation of my hairstyle,” the former businessman quipped in his book, “Trump: How to Get Rich.”

Trending - Most Read Stories

FDA approves blood test that can detect concussions 

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 10:58 PM

Maxime Chanot #4 of New York City FC holds his head after a clash of heads form a corner kick during the New York City FC Vs San Jose Earthquakes regular season MLS game at Yankee Stadium on April 1, 2017 in New York City. 
Tim Clayton - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Maxime Chanot #4 of New York City FC holds his head after a clash of heads form a corner kick during the New York City FC Vs San Jose Earthquakes regular season MLS game at Yankee Stadium on April 1, 2017 in New York City. (Tim Clayton - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a breakthrough blood test that can help detect concussions in adults.

>> Read more trending news 

The blood test, also known as the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator Test, works by measuring UCH-L1 and GFAP, both proteins released from the brain into the blood, within 12 hours of a head injury.

It can be administered as soon as 15 minutes after the injury, but results take a few hours to produce.

>> Related: When love isn’t enough: A daughter’s suicide leaves a grieving father searching for answers

According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury is a “serious public health problem in the United States.” In 2013 alone, there were about 2.8 million visits to emergency rooms for traumatic brain injury-related conditions. Of these, nearly 50,000 people died.

TBI is typically caused by a blow or bump to the head, or a by a head injury that disrupts the brain’s normal functioning. It can range from mild to severe. About 75 percent of TBIs that occur each year are assessed as mild TBIs or concussions. 

>> Related: Spit test could diagnose concussion in kids, study says

Most patients with traumatic brain injury undergo a neurological exam, followed by a CT scan.

For their research, the FDA evaluated data on 1,947 individual blood samples from adults with suspected mild TBI or concussion and reviewed the product’s performance by comparing blood test results with CT scan results.

They found the blood test was 97.5 percent as effective in detecting concussion and 99.6 perfect as effective in ruling out the injury.

The test also costs as little as one-tenth as much as a CT scan.

» RELATED: Which high school sports have the most concussions? 

"A blood test that accurately, reliably and consistently detects the presence of brain proteins that appear in the blood after a brain injury is a major advance," Dr. David Dodick, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology who specializes in sports medicine and neurology, told CNN. Dodick was not involved in the study.

One of the challenges of diagnosing concussions is that the injury’s symptoms can occur at various times. For some, they appear instantly. Others may not experience symptoms for hours or even days.

» RELATED: Football players under 12 at high risk of brain injury, study finds

Symptoms also vary from person to person. Some may experience light or noise sensitivity, or may lose balance.

“This is something that has been a long time coming,” Col. Dallas Hack, who was director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program from 2008 to 2014 and is now retired, told the New York Times. 

“The concept originally was that we would have something that medical personnel in the field would be able to use to assess whether somebody who had received a head injury needed a higher level of care,” Hack said.

» RELATED: Youth football called ‘child abuse’

But Dodick told CNN that researchers still need to better understand when brains have fully healed from trauma and how the protein biomarkers may actually affect prognosis. Additionally, it’s unclear whether or not the new test can determine subconcussive blows, hits to the head that don’t always cause symptoms but do cause brain injury. 

Subconcussive or repeat blows are believed to lead to the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Over time, that damage may lead to personality changes, mood disorders and other behavioral issues.

"These occur much more often than actual concussions, especially in certain collision and contact sports,” Dodick told CNN.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Teen admits to killing Memphis couple, setting apartment on fire

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:42 PM


Joe Raedle/Getty Images
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

An arrest has been made after a Memphis couple was found dead in an apartment that went up in flames Thursday afternoon.

>> Read more trending news 

Aareon Berryman, 18, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated arson, possession of marijuana with the intent to manufacture or sell, and possession of ecstasy with the intent to manufacture or sell. 

On Thursday afternoon, a Memphis Police Department officer said he heard multiple gunshots coming from an apartment complex located in the 3500 block of Tall Oaks Circle. Witnesses began yelling, "It's a robbery happening," he said.

Moments later, the officer said he found Berryman running northbound from an apartment unit engulfed in flames. After a short foot chase, Berryman was caught and taken into custody. Officers said they asked the suspect if anyone was still in the apartment. 

>> Related: Husband, wife found dead in Memphis apartment that went up in flames 

Berryman said there were two other people inside the burning apartment where he "left them," police officials said.

The Memphis Fire Department arrived at the scene after being notified of the apartment fire. MFD found the body of Brandon Allen lying on the kitchen floor and the body Regina Allen in the back bedroom. They were pronounced dead on the scene.

Regina and Brandon Allen were found dead in their burned-out Memphis apartment Thursday. A teen has been arrested and charged with arson, murder and other crimes.(Facebook)

The couple had just celebrated Regina's birthday four days ago.

Police said Berryman admitted to killing both victims, taking their property, and setting their apartment on fire.

The suspect allegedly had an AR-15, loaded handgun, 2 jars of marijuana, 3 plastic bags of marijuana, 3 prescription pill bottles, and a bottle of charcoal lighter fluid in his possession at the time of his arrest, authorities said.

>> Related: Family ID's husband and wife found dead in burning apartment

Officials said 8 to 16 units were completely or partially burned out in the process. The total damage was estimated at $254,000 for the buildings and $76,000 worth of contents, according to MFD.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Man accused of beating wife, an online exhibitionist, to death with absinthe bottle

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 7:01 PM

William Jeffrey
William Jeffrey "Jeff" West(Shelby County Jail)

An Alabama man charged with killing his wife, whose slaying last month unveiled her double life as an online exhibitionist, is accused of beating her to death with a bottle of absinthe, court records show.

The partially-clothed body of Kathleen Dawn “Kat” West, 42, of Calera, was discovered lying in the road in front of her home just after 5 a.m. on Jan. 18, Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said in a Thursday news conference. She lived there with her husband, William Jeffrey West, and their 12-year-old daughter. 

Jeff West, 44, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder. According to Shelby County Jail records, he was being held Friday in lieu of $500,000 bond. 

The couple’s daughter was not home when her mother was killed.

Lemley said Thursday that Jeff West was the department’s chief suspect from the beginning of the investigation, though Kat West’s “online professional activities” warranted investigators’ attention. 

He declined to specify what evidence pointed them toward her husband. 

“Let me say this. We are still restricted, very restricted, on what information that can be given out,” Lemley said. “The case is still under investigation, even though we have made an arrest. But, the case has to go to trial as well.”

The West murder case has shone a national spotlight on small-town Calera, due mainly to the more salacious details of Kat West’s life. Though she described herself on social media as a full-time stay-at-home wife and mother, she operated a subscription-only adult website where she went by the name “Kitty Kat West.” The public page boasted a suggestive photo and promised users that, for a monthly $15.99 subscription fee, they could get more risqué material beyond the paywall. 

Her Twitter account, also listed under her stage name, directs viewers to the paid adult website, as well. Kat West’s bio on the adult site, which was still live as of Friday, described the site, in part, as “hundreds of pics of ALL me, having some naughty fun.”

In the days immediately following the slaying, Kat West’s mother, Nancy Martin, wrote on Facebook that it seemed “impossible for the extreme sadness and grief we feel (over) the loss of our beautiful daughter, Kat, to ever diminish.” She described her daughter as a “cherished wife to Jeff” and a loving mother to their own young daughter. 

A fundraiser in Kat West’s name was established, but quickly ended as the case became more public. 

On Jan. 24, Martin changed her profile picture to one of her daughter and son-in-law. It remained there as of Friday afternoon. 

See Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley’s news conference, recorded by WBRC in Birmingham, below. 

Lemley said that investigators interviewed many witnesses in the case, as well as collecting a lot of evidence that needed to be processed. Four detectives were assigned to the case, two of them full-time. 

“Evidence takes time to process,” the police chief said. “And we have to wait on that evidence to come in so we can connect all the dots.”

Detectives were awaiting analysis on a final piece of evidence from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. That final report was issued on Tuesday and, after a thorough review by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, a warrant was issued for Jeff West’s arrest, the chief said. 

>> Read more trending news 

“We know exactly what happened, for the most part, on this case.” Lemley said. “I mean, we can’t tell you verbatim what was being said one way or the other, but we know what happened that night. We do have evidence to support that.”

The chief credited neighboring Shelby County law enforcement agencies, state agencies and the FBI with assisting in the investigation. 

Lemley again declined to go into detail about the evidence, but Jeff West’s arrest warrant, obtained by AL.com, indicates that Kat West was killed with a bottle of Lucid Absinthe. An autopsy found that the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head. 

The court documents state that, when a 19-year-old neighbor left for work Jan. 18, she found Kat West face-down on the ground in nothing but a sports bra, her body half in the roadway and half in the yard of the home across the street. A cellphone was found nearby, along with a green liquor bottle. 

Lucid Absinthe is sold in green bottles. 

TV news magazine Inside Edition on Jan. 25 aired surveillance footage from R&R Wine and Liquor, in Calera, that shows Kat West, just about eight hours before she was killed, walk into the liquor store with a man who appears to be her husband. In the video, the couple looks happy and playful.

“They came in (and) it looked like they were on their date night,” store clerk Stacey Oglesby told Inside Edition.

The couple bought two things that night: Lucid Absinthe and Jameson Irish Whiskey, Oglesby said. 

Lemley said it was not completely clear what could have happened between the couple’s visit to the liquor store, when they appeared happy, and when Kat West was bludgeoned to death. 

“It’s a domestic. Unfortunately, domestics turn bad pretty quickly,” Lemley said. “Anything can trigger it.” 

Jeff West, a military veteran, works as an unsworn police officer at Birmingham Southern College, AL.com reported. Officials at the school said they are in the process of terminating his employment. 

As of Thursday, Jeff West had not admitted involvement in the crime, Lemley said. 

Trending - Most Read Stories