Doctors: Flu season here early, could be bad

January 11, 2013 9:31:25 AM PST
The flu is already making its way around Houston. This is the earliest flu season in a decade, and doctors say it's going to be bad. Half a dozen children have already been hospitalized with flu at Texas Children's Hospital, so doctors say you should get your family vaccinated now.

How many of you say, I never get the flu shot, I don't need it, and I don't give it to my family? Well were going to show you why you should give your family the flu vaccine.

Eight-year-old Costner Jasper is in critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit of Texas Children's Hospital because he has the flu.

"We didn't know it could be so severe. We never would have thought that a flu would end up like this," his mother, Shannon Jasper said.

Last week, the healthy third grader had a high fever that caused a seizure. They called an ambulance.

"We wouldn't have had that warning that he needs help right away, that we could have let it pass through the night and take him to the doctor the next morning, and the bleeding in his lungs, could have been bad," Costner's father, Clint Jasper, said.

This strain of flu had caused fluid and blood to fill Costner's lungs.

"They had to put him on an oscillating ventilator, which is worse than a normal ventilator. He's in critical condition but he's getting better," Clint Jasper said.

"We're blessed that he's gonna make it and we believe he will make it," Shannon Jasper said.

Dr. Carol Baker treated a young girl who died of the flu a few weeks ago.

"This child who died had chronic lung disease and there of course was more vulnerable. But even in healthy kids, half the kids who die of flu in the United States every year are previously healthy," Dr. Baker said.

But this year, the flu vaccine works. It gives 90 percent protection from the three flu strains going around.

"It's gonna be a long, bad season. We have a great vaccine. Everybody needs to get out there. Get your kids vaccinated," Dr. Baker said.

The Costner's parents hope other families will avoid the heartache of watching a child fight for his life against the flu.

Children under two and the elderly are most at risk as well as pregnant women. And remember, the vaccine requires two weeks to become effective.