There certainnly has been a lot of Influenza this year. As you've heard, the most common strain has been H3N2, which is always a bit worse than others. Despite what they've been hearing on the news, though, so far Influenza has not been particularly severe in the kids we've seen in our practice. We've seen lots of it, but kids seem to be handling it better than adults. Fortunately, most of our patients are protected by the flu shot - we know it would be worse if that wasn't the case. We hope that continues.
It's not too late to get a flu shot, if you can find one. We have plenty of flu vaccine for kids under 3 yo, but are out of the vaccine for kids over 3 yo. If your child hasn't had one yet, it is worth trying to get them vaccinated. Our flu season here in CA is later than other parts of the US - we usually see flu right through March into April. The predominant strain early in the season tends to be Influenza A, and later in the season Influenza B. Since the vaccine protects against two strains of A and two strains of B, it's worth getting the vaccine at this point and even if you've already had "the flu."
The 10% number for "effectiveness" of the flu vaccine that you hear on the news is based on the Australian experience. US numbers won't be available until late February but preliminary numbers look to be closer to 30-40%. It's important to remember that this number is the number of people who didn't get the flu at all. We have seen time and time again that kids who got a flu vaccine are much less sick than those who didn't. Even if the flu shot doesn't keep you from getting the flu, it keeps you from getting really sick and prevents serious complications like pneumonia, dehydration, hospitalization and death.
As always, we are here to answer any questions. We hope that you and your family are healthy and stay healthy.