ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A local pediatrician says he’s seeing a big increase in kids being hospitalized with the flu these days.

Influenza B is apparently the one hitting children the hardest this year.

“This is extremely unusual for this time of year, we usually don’t see this many kids actually sick enough to be admitted to the hospital until about January,” St. Louis University Care pediatrician Dr. Ken Haller said.

“The flu is a serious illness,” he added. “Just this past weekend, of the twelve kids I had in the hospital, three of them were in the hospital because they have the flu so this is not something that is a cold that kids are going to get over. Kids are getting really sick with this and the younger they are, the sicker they are.”

Fourty-four percent of all influenza cases in St. Louis County are in kids between the ages of 5 and 14.

Dr. Haller advises parents to get themselves and their children vaccinated against influenza before those big family gatherings on Thanksgiving, calling it “really, really important.” Doctors recommend that everyone over six months of age receive the vaccine.


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