Flu Season Precautions for Children with Autism
Winter has been particularly harsh this year and in some areas, weather conditions
have made the flu season difficult to contend with as Influenza cases are
continuing to spread rapidly. The University of Wyoming reports widespread cases
throughout the state and the school’s Student Health Services has been treating
several patients per day with flu-like symptoms. The state of Indiana has just
been listed in the "wide-spread" outbreak category, and according
to the CDC, this scenario is playing out in many states around the country.
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.
It can lead to severe illness and complications, particularly among older people,
children and those with compromised immune systems.
Practical ways to prevent the spread of the flu include thorough hand washing (for more than 20 seconds using a rubbing, friction
action) and of course, covering one’s mouth when coughing with the inside of an elbow and not
with the hands.
In addition to hygiene, another preventative measure for the flu is an annual
vaccine, as recommended by the CDC for those 6 months or older.
Although mercury in vaccines has been proven to not cause autism, there
are suggestions that heavy metals can certainly trigger or further complicate
conditions in an already pre-disposed child.
Thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) has allegedly been removed from all vaccines,
with the exception of some brands of the flu shot and some plain tetanus and
diphtheria-tetanus shots. For
the 2010-2011 season, Agriflu, Fluarix, and Flumist are brands that do
not contain mercury, while Afluria, FluLaval, Fluvirin, and the multi-dose version of Fluzone all contain
at least some traces of mercury.
Dr. William Sears of L.E.A.N. reports that Fluzone is the only 100% mercury free brand for
infants, but it needs to be the single-dose version of the shot.
Parents should be both educated and prepared when questioning their doctors about
the injections given to their children with autism spectrum disorders. With the
flu season now in high gear, consult with them about Fluzone and demand single doses for your child’s
age and weight versus the cheaper method of drawing from the larger, multi-dose
vial. If Fluzone is not an option, be sure to demand one of the three brands
listed above that do not contain Thimerosal, assuming it is age-appropriate.
Heavy metals have been known to play a role in the neurological functions and seizures associated with
autism spectrum disorders. And although autism is a pre-disposed condition, you certainly don’t want to add to the barrage of interruptions already present in the brain.
Be informed, get tough, stand your ground and continue advocating on your
child’s behalf and your autism journey will turn into a very rewarding
experience, even during the dreary flu season.