Published: Sat, February 17, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

Year-old child dies from the flu, officials say

Year-old child dies from the flu, officials say

Last season, health officials reported 33 flu-related deaths. "Stay home when you're sick".

"But particularly in light that we are seeing more pediatric influenza deaths, we really encourage parents to get their kids vaccinated", said Karen Martin, an epidemiologist at the Health Department.

Getting a flu shot is a good start. Despite reaching levels of severity not seen in nearly a decade, the CDC has yet to deem this flu season as a "pandemic". That's because that strain, the influenza A virus known as H3N2, can change more rapidly than any other flu viruses transmitted among humans, allowing it to evade the body's immune system.

Most did not even have flu - just 38 percent of them tested positive for flu. Despite medical professionals' almost universal recommendation that patients get the flu vaccination, the percentage of those who opt out continues to rise.

In response to one of the worst influenza seasons in recent years, the Wolf Administration will hold 41 free influenza vaccine clinics at locations across the state throughout the remainder of the month. Flu-related illnesses include pneumonia, asthma and dehydration.

Most illnesses this winter have been caused by a nasty kind of flu called Type A H3N2. The flu is different from a cold.

And that has many people asking, "Why is it so deadly?"

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Totally preventing flu is not the only goal of vaccination: It also can reduce the severity of flu symptoms for people who do get sick, Monto said. Children can spread the flu even longer after they get sick.

"This year, the cell-based influenza vaccine appears to have somewhat better effectiveness in preventing influenza than the egg-based vaccine", Gottlieb said, based on a preliminary CDC analysis.

Public health officials say if people haven't received the vaccine, it's not too late.

In Virginia, 31 people have died so far this flu season, according to the state health department.

That's no surprise. Australia and Canada had already released dismal effectiveness numbers - 10 and 17 percent respectively - against the H3N2 flu, a strain that is notoriously resistant to typical vaccines. The flu vaccine does not contain active viruses and can not infect you.

Limit contact with individuals who are under the weather to avoid catching any viruses. People should stay at home until they have gone 24 hours without fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

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