|[November 15, 2013]
Packard Children's Infectious Disease Expert Discusses Powerful New Flu Vaccine and Tips to Minimize Flu Spread
STANFORD, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
With the flu season fast approaching and news
from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that
830 children died from flu-related complications between October 2004
and September 2012, parents need to understand that a simple flu shot
can be lifesaving. That's why we sat down to speak with Yvonne
Maldonado, MD, chief of pediatric infectious disease at Lucile
Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford and a professor at the
Stanford School of Medicine, to learn more about this year's new
quadrivalent vaccine as well as to get tips on how to minimize the
chances of catching the flu.
Can you shed some light on the new vaccine? And how do parents go
about getting the new vaccine for themselves and their children?
Dr. Maldonado: This season, there is a new flu vaccine that
protects against four strains of flu - which is called a "quadrivalent
vaccine." In the past, trivalent vaccines would protect against two
different strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B, but the
quadrivalent will protect against two strains of influenza A and two
types of influenza B. The quadrivalent vaccine could provide as much as
15 percent more immunity, depending on what flu strains are circulating
in a particular year; however, it is perfectly fine to receive the
trivalent vaccine as well.
I would recommend that parents ask their health care provider if the
quadrivalent vaccine is available. Other resources include public
clinics as well as county health departments. Given that this is the
first year we are issuing the quadrivalent vaccine, there may not be
enough for all individuals who want it. I hope that by next flu season
we'll have the quadrivalent vaccine for everyone.
What would you say to parents who are considering not gettingtheir
children vaccinated, or believe that flu shots will actually make them
Dr. Maldonado: People sometimes think that getting the flu
vaccine causes the flu,
but that is really a myth. We throw the word "flu" around pretty easily.
People may think they caught the flu, when in fact they have another
The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the likelihood of getting the
flu by 60 to 70 percent. Even if a parent or child has gotten the
vaccine in previous years, be sure to get a flu shot this year to boost
immunity to seasonal influenza.
How will the 2013-14 flu season compare with last year's? Any major
Dr. Maldonado: As of late 2013, it's pretty quiet in California
and in the rest of the United States -- I haven't seen major activity.
What overarching trends did you see during last year's flu season?
Dr. Maldonado: During the 2012-13 flu season, we had the H1N1 flu
strain -- the swine flu that emerged in 2009 -- become the dominant flu
strain, which accounted for 126 pediatric deaths. It peaked early in
December, but around January it started to drop off. Last season was a
busy year, but it wasn't as busy as previous years.
What are your tips to prevent the flu from spreading?
Dr. Maldonado: Parents should monitor their children for flu-like
illness: fever, cough, sore throat, and gastrointestinal symptoms such
as diarrhea and vomiting. Anyone with flu symptoms should stay home from
school and work. Kids also should practice hand-washing and other health
basics to avoid spreading germs. In addition, parents need to make sure
that children know how to protect others by covering their coughing or
Click to learn more about Yvonne
Maldonado, MD, and the pediatric
infectious disease program at Packard Children's.
About Packard Children's Hospital
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is an internationally
recognized 311-bed hospital and leading regional medical network
providing a full complement of services for the health of children and
expectant mothers.�Together,�our world-class Stanford
Medicine doctors, nurses and staff deliver innovative, nurturing
care and extraordinary outcomes in every pediatric and obstetric
specialty. Packard Children's is annually ranked as one of the nation's
finest by�U.S. News & World Report�and the only Northern
California children's hospital with specialty programs ranked in the�U.S.
News�Top 10. Learn more about our full range of preeminent
the Packard Children's Health Alliance at�PCHA.org.
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