The peak of cases of influenza among children, often even those under five years of age, is alarming the parents of half of Italy. So much so that the pediatricians themselves call for calm, while defining the situation as “desperate”.
In the emergency rooms and pediatric surgeries, throughout the country and therefore also in Sardinia, fathers and mothers arrive alerted by the sudden fever that affects their children to a greater extent than in the past.
The Ministry of Health specifies that flu symptoms typically include the sudden onset of high fever, cough and body aches. Other common symptoms include headache, chills, loss of appetite, fatigue and sore throat. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur, especially in children.
«Often a cold can also turn into bronchiolitis, with the consequences of the case»explains Osama Al Jamal, representative of the Fimp (the Federation which represents 80 percent of pediatric doctors). «Alarming data arrives from Australia and Great Britain: the symptoms are more serious than in the past. High fever lasts for a week to ten days, cough does not respond to any treatment. All of this also has a social cost.
And here a crucial question arises: is it right to give the flu vaccine to children too? “It’s actually the only real answer,” Al Jamal continues. «Unfortunately, although we have already arrived in December and although the new nasal vaccines are also available, we have not yet been summoned by the Region to enter into an agreement on the vaccination campaign. In agreement with the Public Hygiene Service, pediatricians are doing it voluntarily, with all the responsibilities that follow. We receive fifty phone calls and fifty messages, we make an average of thirty visits a day».
And if the director of the vaccination center Gabriele Mereu reports that it is currently impossible to give an account of an estimate of vaccinations now (“the data will only be known at the end of the campaign”, he says), according to paediatricians, thanks to the campaign that started under the radar, it is estimated that to date the vaccine has been administered to 15 percent of children.
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