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Children need flu shots too

Nov 02 2013, 00:27 IST
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SummaryRecommendations for vaccination changed over the period, but since 2008, the CDC has recommended a flu shot for everyone 6 months or older.

NEW YORK: Seasonal flu killed 830 children from 2004 to 2012, and 43 percent of them had no high-risk medical conditions. The rest of the children had neurological, pulmonary, cardiac and other serious disorders. A new report, published in Pediatrics, used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in children under 18. Recommendations for vaccination changed over the period, but since 2008, the CDC has recommended a flu shot for everyone 6 months or older. Of the 511 children whose vaccination status was known, 84 percent had not had a flu shot. In the 2009-10 flu season, when 66 children with a known vaccination status died, 64 of them were unvaccinated. Death often came quickly: most of the children died within a week of the appearance of symptoms, and a third of them died outside the hospital or in an emergency room. — NYT

Home births pose special risks

NEW YORK: Women who choose to give birth at home may be increasing the likelihood of particular health risks in their babies. In a retrospective study of babies born in 2008, researchers found that having a home birth almost doubled the relative risk of a five-minute Apgar score of four or lower (scores above seven are generally considered normal), and more than tripled the risk of neonatal seizure. The absolute risk for these outcomes is very small, but both are predictors of cerebral palsy, developmental impairment and infant death. The study, published in the October issue of The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, compared 12,039 planned home births with 2,069,714 hospital births. Mothers who gave birth at home were less likely to have their labour induced or to have an assisted delivery, and home births attended by certified nurse-midwives had neonatal complication rates not significantly different from hospital births. NYT

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