Washington County Child Is Season’s First Pediatric Flu Death
The Maine Center For Disease Control says a Washington County child is the first this season to die of the flu.
The child's identity and age have not been released. CDC officials say they were notified on Tuesday that the child was unvaccinated and had tested positive for influenza A. This is the first influenza-associated pediatric death in Maine during the 20198-19 season. In fact, there hasn't been a flu-related influenza death reported in Maine since 2016.
Influenza causes a fever and a cough or sore throat. For most people, it's a mild illness that's uncomfortable and inconvenient, but not fatal. But some people are at high risk for more serious illness, including young children, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions.
There are antiviral medications that can help lessen the symptoms of the flu, and are most effective when started with two days of getting sick. However, health experts say the best defense against the flu is still the flu vaccine.
CDC officials say you should seek immediate medical care if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty or changes in breathing
- Bluish lips or face
- Chest pain
- Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
- Not alert or interacting when awake
- Fever above 104 degrees Fahrenheit
- Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
In addition, they advise following the 'No Flu 4 You' guidelines:
- Wash your hands frequently to prevent transmission of influenza.
- Cover your cough, using tissues or by coughing into your sleeve, to prevent spreading germs.
- Stay home when you're sick, to avoid getting others sick. Individuals should remain home until 24 hours after their fever resolves without the use of medications.
- Get a flu shot. Officials say it's not too late to get vaccinated. The CDC recommends flu shots for everyone, ages 6 months and older, especially those at high risk of serious influenza complications. Flu shots are provided at no cost by the state of Maine for all children under the age of 19.
Acting Maine CDC Director Nancy Beardsley said, in a media release, "Maine CDC wants to ensure that Mainers know the steps they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones, starting with vaccination."
Find more information about flu statistics and prevention tips on the Maine flu website.