“We extend our deepest sympathies to the child’s family,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. “If anything positive comes from this tragic loss, we hope it will be that people understand that flu is a serious illness. Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu, and it’s still not too late to get a flu shot.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine pediatric flu deaths had been reported this season from other states as of Dec. 16. Up to half of children who die from flu have no known medical condition that would have put them at higher risk.
This flu season, 11 adult flu-associated deaths have been reported in North Carolina, with six of those being people 65 and older.
People who think they might have the flu should contact their doctor right away to see if they need treatment with a prescription antiviral drug such as Tamiflu. Early treatment with an antiviral drug can help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious. Treatment with a prescription antiviral drug is especially important for hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health.
Other precautions people can take to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses include:
- Staying home when sick until fever-free for at least 24 hours
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue promptly
- Washing hands frequently, preferably with soap and water
More information on flu and where people can get vaccinated is available at www.flu.nc.gov.