Doctors always urge the elderly and people with compromised immune systems to get their flu shots ASAP, a sentiment that's reiterated frequently whenever flu season rolls around. Although this warning is completely warranted, according to Inside Edition, these parents are encouraging others to vaccinate their "healthy" kids after their 4-year-old son died from the flu.
If you're a parent with a healthy kid, it may be easy to dismiss the importance of vaccinations, especially seasonally. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says otherwise, and it's important to familiarize yourself with the dangers of not vaccinating healthy children.
"The flu virus is common — and unpredictable. It can cause serious complications even in healthy children," Dr. Flor Munoz of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases stated in September, according to WebMD. "Being immunized reduces the risk of a child being hospitalized due to flu."
Laura Sidari, a mom of three, heeded the AAP's warnings about vaccinations throughout the years. Sidari and her husband — both doctors — regularly vaccinated their sons, and they are "big proponents" of modern medicine, according to Inside Edition. But during the 2017 Christmas season, the parents put off their kids' vaccinations due to their busy schedules.
“Every season, my kids have been vaccinated, but it just slipped through the cracks,” Sidari explained, according to Yahoo. “All my kids have been vaccinated and I’m a big proponent of vaccination due to my medical training, but I was not aware of the severe risk that influenza can pose to healthy people and healthy children.”
Sadly, Sidari's 4-year-old son, Leon, fell ill just days before he was scheduled to receive a flu shot, according to USA Today.
“He complained of some muscle aches and had a fever," Sidari explained, according to WSLS 10 News. “We gave him some chicken noodle soup and Pedialyte. He was watching cartoons on the couch, normal looking sickness, nothing out of the ordinary."
Considering Leon was an active and healthy kid who loved to "play soccer" and "run around," according to Yahoo, Sidari thought he'd recover. But in a tragic turn of events, Leon died on Christmas morning due to "influenza and bacterial pneumonia," according to Cafe Mom.
Now Sidari wants parents to seek medical care for their kids before flu season hits, even if they're children are perfectly healthy.
"I would give anything as a mother for that [chance]," Sidari said, according to WSLS 10 News. “You can’t wait for medical care — you have to prevent it.”
Sidari's message comes at critical time, as an unvaccinated child in Florida died of a flu-related illness during the week of Oct. 6, as CNN reported.
To protect your children and other kids out there, schedule a vaccination appointment with your doctor ASAP. Another option is to use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine locator, a handy app that pulls up a list of vaccination centers based on your zip code.
As Sidari stated, "healthy" kids need to be vaccinated, too.