Young families seeking flu test kits during second wave of flu season

OWOSSO (WJRT) (02/20/2020) - A second wave of the flu is making the rounds. This time, two strains are hitting children especially hard.

According to the Associated Press, this is one of the nastiest flu seasons for children in a decade. Early signs, however, suggest the vaccine is working okay.

Estimates this season so far are at least tens of millions flu cases and thousands of deaths across the country.

With those staggering numbers, healthcare providers are stocking up on flu test kits.

Jaclyn Elrot works with hundreds of patients, so developing flu-like symptoms could put them all at risk. She's also a mother of four young children, and she worries about them staying clear of the flu as well.

"It kind of terrifies me being I have so many kids. I worry about me getting it, my husband getting it, the kids getting it, having to worry about daycare if we're both not home, missing work."

She says her oldest child had fourteen students test positive for the flu in her class. When that happens, it can put a burden on the whole family. She says with a large family, it can be easy for symptoms to spread from one person to another.

"They cuddle together. They share cups. They share pillows. They share blankets, so all they have to do is sneeze of cough on one pillow, and then the other kid wants to take a nap, and they lay on that same pillow, and then the next one will get it," Elrot said.

Elrot says advises parents to air on the side of caution, saying if children are showing signs, it's better to find out sooner than later.

Places like Memorial Healthcare in Owosso plan weeks ahead of time, expecting to see families show up in numbers.

"We take previous flu seasons, and then we also compare our data that we had that year to previous past years in countries like Australia that experience their flu season at a different time of year," Nicholas Decker said. Decker is the Director of Laboratory Services at Memorial Healthcare in Owosso.

He added, "We use that number to kind of forecast and broadcast what we will need to have on hand in terms of inventory or what kind of levels we can see."

Decker also says it's not too late to get the flu vaccine. He says they're always available and ready for those who wish to protect themselves or their families.

For more information on the flu from the CDC, check out the 'Related Links' section on this page.

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