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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)

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Subtropical Storm Alberto strengthens bringing gusty winds, heavy rains, storm surge to Gulf region

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 10:31 AM
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 10:31 AM

What are Tropical Storms?

Tropical storm warnings are up across Florida and along parts of the Gulf Coast as Subtropical Storm Alberto lumbers across the Gulf of Mexico ruining Memorial Day holiday plans for thousands of vacationers.

>> Read more trending news

Update May 27, 2018 5:05 p.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to move north, north west with no change in strength.

The Tropical Storm Warning along the west coast of Florida south of the Anclote River has ended, according to the National Hurricane Center

The Storm Surge Warning for the northern Gulf Coast of west of Navarre, Florida has ended. 

Update May 27, 2018 11 a.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto is strengthening with wind speeds clocked at 50 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, or NHC. The storm is moving north at 14 mph and it’s located about 130 miles southwest of Tampa.

Isolated tornadoes are possible as Alberto closes in on the region. Forecasters are predicting Alberto will make landfall sometime late Sunday or Monday, bringing gusty winds, heavy rain, flash flooding and storm surge to parts of the Gulf Coast.

>> Related: Alberto: PBC saw up to 3 inches of rain last night; expect more Sunday

“Alberto is expected to produce heavy rainfall with a risk of flooding and flash flooding over western Cuba, the Florida Keys and south Florida today. The risk for heavy rainfall and flooding will then spread over much of the southeast U.S. tonight and Monday,” according to the NHC.

The NHC is warning of “dangerous surf and rip current conditions” along parts of the eastern and northern Gulf Coast through Monday.

 

>> Related: Alberto starts to bring rain to Central Florida as storm moves north

(Previous Story)

A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of the Florida Gulf Coast including from Bonita Beach to the Anclote River as well as north near the Aucilla River to the Mississippi/Alabama border, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

Heavy rainfall is expected as the storm, with sustained winds of 40 mph, continues to move at 13 mph through the Dry Tortugas. 

Five day forecast map. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

A storm surge watch has also been issued for parts of Florida and the Mississippi/Alabama border, officials said

The latest forecast ends the tropical storm and storm surge watch for parts of Louisiana. 

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Former President George H.W. Bush back in the hospital in Maine with low blood pressure

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 2:28 PM

Biography of George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush is back in the hospital, according to a family spokesman.

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Bush was taken to Southern Maine Health Care Sunday “after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue,” his spokesman Jim McGrath said on Twitter.

The former president is described as “awake and alert” and will probably remain hospitalized for a few days for observation, McGrath said.


Bush was most recently hospitalized in Houston on April 22, one day after the funeral and burial of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush.

During that hospital stay, he was diagnosed with an infection that had spread to his blood, doctors said at the time, but he recovered and eventually went home.

>> Related: George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized; doctors 'very pleased' with progress, spokesman says

At the time he said he was looking forward to visiting the family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Bush was out and about Saturday, marking the Memorial Day holiday, joining a group of veterans at American Legion Post 159 for a pancake breakfast in Kennebunkport.

“Delighted to join the veterans, including my dear friend Gen. Brent Scowcroft,” Bush tweeted.

>> Related: George H.W. Bush: 9 things to know about the 41st president of the United States

Scowcroft was National Security Adviser during the presidencies of both Bush and Gerald Ford.

“This weekend we remember, and thank, all who have given their lives for our great country,” he said Saturday.

George Bush has a form of Parkinson's disease and uses a motorized scooter or wheelchair to get around. 

He was the youngest naval aviator when he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943, spurred by the attack on Pearl Harbor.

He flew 58 combat missions during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery.

>> Related: PHOTOS: George H. W. Bush through the years

He had six children with Barbara Bush, and in 1989, he became the first sitting vice president to secure the presidency since 1837.

Former United States President George H. W. Bush prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before game five of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas.(Pool/Getty Images)

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12-year-old's foot possibly bitten by shark in Florida

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 2:35 AM

A boy was standing in waist-deep water on Daytona Beach when something bit him on the foot, “presumably a shark,” officials said. (File photo)
A boy was standing in waist-deep water on Daytona Beach when something bit him on the foot, “presumably a shark,” officials said. (File photo)

A 12-year-old boy was bitten on the foot by something, possibly a shark, while bathing on Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday afternoon, Volusia County Beach Safety officials said. 

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The Gainesville boy was standing in waist-deep water around 2 p.m. at a beach when something bit him on the foot, “presumably a shark,” officials said. 

The boy’s injury was minor, officials said, but he was transported to a nearby hospital as a precaution. 

Beach safety officials said the beaches were crowded. 

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Delta debuts uniforms in ‘Passport Plum’ with launch Tuesday

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 4:08 PM

Kyandra Ravenel, a Delta airlines flight attendant, walks the runway during the uniform fitting for Delta employees at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.
Reann Huber/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Kyandra Ravenel, a Delta airlines flight attendant, walks the runway during the uniform fitting for Delta employees at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.(Reann Huber/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Delta Air Lines is about to debut its new uniforms for flight attendants and other employees with designer Zac Posen.

>> Read more trending news 

Atlanta-based Delta has been preparing for months for the Tuesday launch of the new uniforms.

Posen will make an appearance at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Monday afternoon, around the same time that the first crew wearing the new uniforms for the debut will take off in Singapore for a flight to Tokyo. By that time, it will be early Tuesday morning in Singapore.

Posen will then appear at a Delta fashion show at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport early Tuesday morning in Atlanta, as employees don the new uniforms on flights and at airports across the carrier’s operations.

>> Related: Delta to debut new uniforms across airline in May

While Delta employees have for years worn dark blue and red uniforms, the new collection includes a color the airline dubs “Passport Plum.”

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