During the same six-week period, 27 states reported 4,958 people hospitalized with H1N1 swine flu, and more than half -- 53 percent -- were under the age of 25.
Despite questions in some quarters about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine now being rolled out, the shot is actually the best way to protect your child against the swine flu, said Dr. Nathan Litman, director of pediatrics and chief of pediatric infectious diseases at The Children's Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City.
"It should totally prevent them from acquiring influenza and, if they do get sick, they would have a milder illness," he said.
Vaccination will also prevent others from falling ill: Children who contract the swine flu at a party not only run the risk of getting sick themselves, they can also pass it on to others who might be at greater risk of complications, Litman added.
"When you have a good match between the vaccine and the virus circulating, you have 90 percent or more protection against the disease," Frenck said.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the swine flu, including the centers' take on swine flu parties.
SOURCES: Tamara R. Kuittinen, M.D. emergency medicine physician, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Robert Frenck, M.D., professor, pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital; Nathan Litman, M.D., director, pediatrics, and chief, pediatric infectious diseases, The Children's Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City
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