Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Ohio Department of Health reports state's first pediatric flu death of season

Ohio Department of Health reports state's first pediatric flu death of season

Health officials say a 4-year-old boy from southwest OH has died from the flu in what is shaping up to be one of the most severe flu seasons in recent years.

As News 18 has previously reported, state health officials say the number of flu-related deaths in IN is now at 25.

While Denton County hasn't seen quite that volume of hospitalizations, Denton County Public Health chief epidemiologist Juan Rodriguez said the uptick in cases is still noticeable and noticeably early.

It's relevant to note that these are just the reported numbers - they could be much higher, as not everyone seeks medical attention when they have the flu.

The state does track flu-associated hospitalizations, which are rising. While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, people who still get sick may have milder symptoms. The H3N2 flu virus that is causing the problem this year has hit hard at the elderly and very young.

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The influenza is in its peak months in January and February, and, during the last week of 2017, "influenza activity increased sharply in the United States", the CDC said. Both are indicated by coughing and a runny nose, but the flu is separated by headaches, chills, a possible fever and extreme fatigue. Vaccine effectiveness against other circulating flu viruses has been about 60 percent for H1N1 viruses, and around 50 percent for influenza B viruses.

Get vaccinated. The list of reasons to avoid vaccination is short (such as having a severe reaction to the vaccine in the past); and no, the standard injected flu vaccine can not cause you to get the flu.

Doctors say the best line of defense against the virus is still the vaccine. Flu vaccination is available at most healthcare providers' offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies. Combining the flu vaccine along with the practice of some simple, yet important, precautionary measures will help protect you and others from the misery "the bug" can bring. "Flu vaccination also can reduce the severity of illness if you do get sick".

"Flu is hard to predict", said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig, in a statement.

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