At first it seemed like a cold for baby Willow, but this soon turned into a serious diagnosis that required hospital. Mother Leanne describes her youngest child’s experience of influenza.
It was mid-winter when mother Leanne noticed her baby, Willow, had a runny nose. As a mum of eight children, she was familiar with the normal ailments of youngsters and she nursed her child for a suspected cold.
However, baby Willow’s temperature continued to rise and she became lethargic. Leanne realised this was not a cold and acted quickly by taking her baby to hospital. The emergency doctors connected the baby to a drip in the children’s ward. This was a traumatic experience for both Leanne and Willow.
“When I looked at my baby in hospital in that bed connected to drips, screaming and so desperately unwell, I realised I could have done something to prevent this from happening.” Mother Leanne, from Sydney.
Blood tests confirmed that Willow had influenza A - often considered the most serious strain1 - and she was kept in hospital for a number of days. There are three types of influenza virus: A, B and C that can all cause serious illness.1 Children under 5 years of age are at increased risk of complications and hospitalisation.2,3
Baby Willow has now fully recovered. However, as a result of their experience, Leanne is now an advocate for influenza vaccination.
Leanne and Willow, Sydney
“It was an awful time for me because, as her mum, I should be looking after her, protecting her and doing everything to prevent her from getting sick. I would hate for anyone else’s child to get that unwell, so I’m now a huge advocate for the vaccination,”
April sees start of influenza National Immunisation Program
This year’s influenza National Immunisation Program will provide free vaccinations to children (from 6 months to under 5 years of age), those aged 65+ and people at high risk of complications, such as those with cardiovascular disease.4 For further information on influenza and its prevent, please speak with your healthcare professional.
- Health Direct. Available at: www.healthdirect.gov.au/influenza-a-flu
- Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Australian Immunisation Handbook, Australian Government Department of Health, Canberra, 2018. Available from: https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccine-preventable-diseases/influenza-flu. [Accessed 1st April 2020]
- Li-Kim Moy J et al (2016) Australian vaccine preventable disease epidemiological review series: Influenza 2006 to 2015. Commun Dis Intill 2016;40(4):E482-E495. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28043223/ [Accessed 1st April 2020]
- Department of Health. National Immunisation Program 2020 influenza vaccination provider toolkit Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/Publications/flu-provider-toolkit.pdf [Accessed 30th March 2020]
April 22, 2020