Children who suffer from a variety of disabilities already face challenges in their everyday lives that other people may not ever experience. Often times, a child’s disability requires ongoing care, intensive medical treatments and economic assistance in the form of Supplemental Security Income. But despite the widespread awareness that these children require extra attention and support, many of them are being skipped over for a crucial — and simple — health measure.
According to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 50 percent of children with certain intellectual disorders are being given the flu vaccine. This worrisome statistic has raised concerns that these young people are being put in danger of suffering fatal consequences because of this oversight.
Doctors who treat young people with neurological disorders should already be aware that these patients are more vulnerable than children who do not have the same afflictions. Their conditions can already compromise their health, so it is crucial that measures to prevent illness are taken when appropriate. Unfortunately, many physicians are not informing patients or their parents of the risks associated with not immunizing these young people to protect them from getting influenza.
If a child with an intellectual disability gets the flu, it is more likely that he or she will require hospitalization to treat the illness. They are also at risk of dying from the flu. Unfortunately, the recent report suggests that many physicians fail to properly identify a vulnerable child and inform family members of how important getting a flu vaccine may be.
Portland families often rely on the expertise of doctors and other professionals to help them care for a child with special needs. There are many challenges that they already face on a day-to-day basis and getting accurate and helpful information about how to keep a child healthy and supported can alleviate the anxiety of these challenges.
Source: Disability Scoop, “CDC: Half Of Kids With Disabilities Skip Flu Shots,” Michelle Diament, Sept. 13, 2013