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CDC: Increase in pediatric flu cases reported

Dr. Heather Felton, a pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group, said the wave of flu cases started as soon as the omicron surge ended.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 7:13 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The nationwide surge in pediatric flu cases is also affecting Kentucky, according to doctors.

Dr. Heather Felton, a pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group, said the wave of flu cases started as soon as the omicron surge ended.

In January, Norton Children’s Hospital reported 233 total flu cases among children and 220 cases in February. In March, the number more than tripled with 732 cases, and four children were admitted to the hospital.

Felton said the current surge is happening much later in flu season than usual. Flu season typically runs through May and peaks in December through February.

“We don’t know 100 percent the reason why we’re seeing the increase in cases right now,” Felton explained. “But that is kind of the working theory that we don’t have everybody wearing masks anymore and not having masking in schools and most places.”

The latest numbers from the CDC show flu cases are rising in most places across the U.S., but are still lower than pre-pandemic seasons.

Felton repeated the same advice we’ve heard since 2020: wash your hands and stay home if you feel sick. She also said it’s not too late for a flu shot.

“One of the biggest reasons to do that is to prevent severe infection to prevent hospitalization,” she said. “Every year we do have children that are admitted to the children’s hospital for influenza and the flu vaccine can help protect against that.”

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