As health-care providers, we are aware that the influenza virus is imperative each year for those at greater risk – patients with chronic conditions, the elderly, and the young.

Statistics show that children aged younger than five years are at highest risk for influenza and are more likely to have serious complications (including secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia, and sepsis).1

Annual immunization from the flu (intramuscular injection or intranasal spray) is the most effective way to prevent individuals from getting the flu and spreading the virus to others, according to the Centers for Disease Control.6

The flu and socioeconomic status

Research has shown that children in families that are considered to be low-income (those living below the federally-defined poverty line) are at an even higher risk for influenza illness and complications.3 Socioeconomic status has been directly linked with increased hospitalization due to influenza, due to crowded housing and decreased, or lack of, medical care.3

During the 2012-2013 influenza season, 150 children died from influenza related illness, and it is suggested that this number is even higher than what is reported each year, due to lack of recognition of the influenza virus and lack of reporting to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) by laboratory test.2