Parents concerned as flu season and playground season collide

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - The numbers are staggering.

The last report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed 97 children have died from flu-related illness this season. Four of those deaths were here in North Carolina.

At the same time, the weather is getting nicer and more kids are heading to area parks. Many of those parents are making sure their kids have fun, but are continually keeping their hands clean, as well.

Becky Bitzenhofer brought her two young sons, Mason and Bryce, to Pullen Park Tuesday to enjoy the weather. She knows though, firsthand, how bad the flu can be.

"We got hit hard with the flu this year, every single one of us had it, including my husband," she said. "So, we've been afraid of it."

Bitzenhofer brought wipes and had her kids continually clean their hands. And she's not alone.

"The parents have been skeptical, as well as I have, and we've been staying indoors doing crafty things," said Renee Lee, a nanny who was watching a child at Pullen Park.

"Kids, of course, are touching everything, and then they're touching their faces," said Dr. Greg Mosteller, Medical Director for Rex Express. "You want to try to tell your kids, hey, wash your hands, do the best you can not to touch your face, stay away from kids who are sick and coughing as much as possible."

Mosteller said flu season could last another month or two.

All the more reason, Bitzenhofer said, to keep those wipes handy.

"Just a lot of hand washing and wipes," she said.

Children under the age of five, and especially under the age of two, are at high risk for flu complications.

Mosteller said it's not too late to get the flu shot and recommended if your child is sick, that child should stay home.


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