People enter a pharmacy next to a sign promoting flu shots in New York January 10, 2013. The country is in the midst of what is being described as a flu epidemic with much higher numbers of the sickness being reported than usual, according to local media.
(Photo : REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)
The 2012-2013 flu season has taken the lives of almost 40 children as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to urge people to take their flu shots while researchers believe they might have found what's making this year's season problematic.
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According to a study led by Arizona State University research professor Sherry Towers, a connection between warm winters and the severity of the flu season has appeared.
"It appears that fewer people contract influenza during warm winters, and this causes a major portion of the population to remain vulnerable into the next season, causing an early and strong emergence," said Prof. Towers in a statement, whose study will be published in the journal PLOS Currents: Influenza. "And when a flu season begins exceptionally early, much of the population has not had a chance to get vaccinated, potentially making that flu season even worse."
The study included data collected by the CDC.
The CDC has revealed new pediatric mortality figures and unfortunately the 2012-13 numbers have surpassed the 2011-12 numbers.
According to the CDC, 37 children have passed away during the current flu season, three deaths higher from the last season. The numbers are significantly down compared to the 2009-2010 numbers when 282 deaths were recorded.
Children older than six months are recommended to receive a flu shot. The CDC noted on average, 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized due to flu complications. The CDC does note four antiviral drugs approved for children to use: Tamiflu, Relenza, Symmetrel, and Flumadine, however, there are side effects for each before mentioned drug.
For more information on the side effects, click here.