Harris County Public Health has confirmed a flu-related death of a child in Harris County – the first pediatric death here since the current flu season began last October.
“Due to confidentiality issues and out of respect for the privacy of the family during this difficult time, no further information on the child will be released,” according to a statement Monday by spokesperson Martha L. Marquez.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 84 pediatric flu-related deaths nationwide the flu season.
Additionally, says the CDC, this year’s vaccine offers good protection for children over six months to eight years of age.
Since flu season can last as late as May, HCPH reminds individuals to remain diligent in protecting themselves and their families against the flu. Harris County residents who haven’t had a flu shot are encouraged to get one as soon as possible as flu vaccine remains available throughout our community.
“This death is a somber reminder of the danger flu poses to our residents, especially those who are more vulnerable to develop serious flu complications” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health. “Obtaining a flu shot and taking other preventive measures are your best lines of defense against the flu.”
Shah says getting vaccinated is especially important for:
--Anyone with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic lung disease.
--Young children over the age of six months.
--Anyone 65 years of age and older.
--Anyone who lives with or cares for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications.
Flu symptoms include the following signs and symptoms:
--Fever or feeling feverish/chills – though it’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
--Runny or stuffy nose.
--Muscle or body aches.
--Fatigue – feeling very tired.
--Vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes, though this is more common in children than adults.
Persons who have flu-like symptoms (especially if they are serious) are asked to contact their healthcare provider for further advice and stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours in order to avoid making others sick.
HCPH has a number of flu-related resources on its website, hcphtx.org.
HCPH notes that the flu is not a reportable disease to health departments. HCPH monitors flu activity mainly from lab reports, emergency room visits due to influenza- like illness, and school absenteeism data. However, children’s flu deaths must be reported to local health authorities.