The National Down Syndrome Society wants to make sure that you have the information you need in order to protect your health during this severe flu season. This resource will arm you with the facts you need to fight the flu!
Are there any special considerations for people with Down syndrome when considering how to treat the flu?
Studies have shown that individuals with chronic medical conditions, including neurologic and cardiac conditions, are at increased risk for complications if they get sick with influenza. For this reason, individuals with Down syndrome are likely to be at higher risk for influenza-related complications. CDC recommends that doctors treat flu illness promptly with antiviral medications in patients with underlying medical conditions. Antiviral medications can reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms, and may reduce the risk of more serious flu-related complications. These medications work best when they are started early in the course of illness, so individuals with Down syndrome should contact their doctor immediately if they develop fever or other flu symptoms. For more information on people at high risk from influenza, please refer to: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm.
Is there anything else that people with Down syndrome should be aware of during flu season?
The best protection against flu is to get a flu vaccine every year. Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, with rare exceptions. Vaccination is especially important for those at increased risk of flu-related complications, including those with Down syndrome. It is also important that close contacts of high-risk individuals, including parents, siblings, household members, and caregivers, get vaccinated in order to avoid spreading flu. Individuals should also follow everyday prevention measures to avoid contracting flu, such as avoiding people who are sick, washing hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding touching their hands, eyes, nose, and mouth, and covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue. More information about flu prevention is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm.
NDSS would like to thank the Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for providing this information.