Infectious Disease Specialist Says Flu Warrants Medical Attention for Many

Feb 22, 2018

The 2017-2018 flu season is definitely not over yet.  According to a report on, there were 515 positive influenza tests reported last week -- only 19 fewer than the week before. 

Dr. Marvin Bittner, infectious disease specialist and faculty member at Creighton University School of Medicine, says certain populations are at higher risk for serious and even life-threatening complications from the flu.  Among these are people with suppressed immune systems, those who see a doctor regularly because of medical conditions, and young children.  He says there are a few theories as to why young children are more vulnerable.

“One theory is that with age we live through more influenza seasons. And, as we live through more influenza seasons, we get more development of our immune systems to protect ourselves from influenza. But if you look at a young child, they just haven’t had that experience to get their immune system developed.”

Bittner says aspirin should never be given to a child who might have the flu. He encourages anyone with concern about flu symptoms to see, or at least call, a health-care provider. Bittner says Tamiflu can both lessen the symptoms and reduce the risk of complications from influenza.

As far as the flu shot, Bittner says as long as flu is in our community it is not too late for a shot.  He calls it the single best way to fight influenza.

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