March 22, 2018

First Ohio pediatric flu death claims life of 4-year-old boy

10 January 2018, 11:09 | Lena Norman

Ohio Department of Health reports first child flu death of season

Ohio Department of Health reports first child flu death of season

Public health officials for Grand Forks County and the North Dakota Department of Public Health say it's better late than never to get a flu shot.

The 2017-18 flu season in OH and nationally is looking similar to the 2014-15 flu season, which at the time was the most severe flu season in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Influenza claimed the lives of two people in Northeast Ohio, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

ODH also reports 1,750 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in OH during the first week of January, a significant increase over 925 reported during the last week of December.

It's relevant to note that these are just the reported numbers - they could be much higher, as not everyone seeks medical attention when they have the flu. Even with the flu vaccine, he says people are still getting sick. Two strains of the virus are affecting the population - the dominant and more severe influenza A strain (H3N2) which mostly impacts the elderly, and an influenza B/Yamagata strain which affects both adults and children.

"Normally in a season, we'll see a peak of influenza A happening some time towards the end of December or through January", Murti said Monday.

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"The virus we're giving them is dead, it's virtually impossible to get the flu from a vaccine", de Lota said.

Get vaccinated. The list of reasons to avoid vaccination is short (such as having a severe reaction to the vaccine in the past); and no, the standard injected flu vaccine can not cause you to get the flu. "But if you do get vaccinated and get influenza, hopefully, your symptoms will be less severe".

These well intentioned gestures of good cheer coupled with children returning to school create the flawless storm scenario for spreading the flu even further. The vaccination is available at most healthcare providers' offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies.

Carolyn Kaltenberg said flu symptoms can appear similar to the common cold, but they are differentiated by a running temperature, body aches and fatigue. Combining the flu vaccine along with the practice of some simple, yet important, precautionary measures will help protect you and others from the misery "the bug" can bring.

In addition to vaccination, public information officer Alexandra Reed said consistent hand washing and staying home if you are sick are the keys to preventing the virus' spread.

She says you can contact your doctor within 24 hours to get treatment that can lessen the impact of flu.

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