Flu season has only just begun — and a Florida child has already died from the illness
It’s only the beginning of flu season, but sadly, there’s already reports of a child dying from influenza B in Florida — the state’s first flu death for the 2018-2019 season.
The Florida Department of Health shared the sad news this week that an unidentified child tested positive for flu and died from it between September 30th and October 6th. Their weekly flu review for that period of time states that the child had no underlying medical conditions and was not vaccinated against the flu.
The report reads, “Most deaths are reported in unvaccinated children. Influenza vaccination has been shown to reduce a child’s likelihood of dying from influenza by up to 60%.”
In addition to their first flu death of the season, Florida reports two outbreaks — one of an influenza-like illness and the other influenza and group A Streptococcus, AKA, strep throat. The report notes that most flu deaths are in children with underlying medical conditions, and that flu activity is still at a relatively low point in the state.
The 2017-2018 flu season was particularly deadly with the CDC reporting a total of 80,000 people dying from the illness — 180 were children. It was the highest number of flu deaths in 40 years. Heading into the new flu season, it’s crucial to get all the information, including the best times to get vaccinated and what age groups need it most. The CDC recommends that anyone over six months old with no medical conditions that would prevent them from doing so to get vaccinated before the end of October. Particularly vulnerable are children aged six months through 59 months, pregnant women, and people over age 50.
Children under five are especially at risk of developing serious flu-related complications including dehydration, pneumonia, sinus infections, and brain dysfunction. These complications can be deadly in some cases. Last season’s influenza vaccine coverage rate with low — only 57.9% of kids between six months and 17 years were immunized, according to the CDC.
But of the 180 kids who died from flu, 74% weren’t vaccinated.
Bottom line? The flu shot can save lives. Talk to your child’s doctor about the flu shot ASAP — and while you’re at it, call your doctor to get their advice about your own shot too.