Health officials confirm first pediatric flu death of season - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

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Health officials confirm first pediatric flu death of season

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting the first confirmed pediatric influenza death for the 2016-2017 flu season.

The victim, who is under 18 years of age, is from central Mississippi. There have been a total of 15 pediatric flu deaths reported in Mississippi since pediatric deaths were reported for the flu season.

“We know, unfortunately, that influenza infections can lead to serious complications and in some cases, death, even for healthy children and young adults,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “We are now in peak flu season, and it’s vitally important to get a flu shot if you haven’t done so already. All indicators suggest that the current flu vaccine is a good match for the flu strains in Mississippi.”

Byers said the best way to prevent the flu is with the vaccine, and for individuals 6 months old or older the vaccine can reduce the risk of complications and death. 

“It’s very important to stay home when you’re sick so you don’t infect others. Also be sure to practice good hygiene such as covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and washing your hands frequently. Please contact your healthcare provider if you think you have the flu. Medications are available that can lessen the severity of illness,” said Byers.

Nationwide, an estimated 3,000 - 49,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu.

Symptoms of seasonal flu include fever, cough, and often, extreme fatigue. Sore throat, headache, muscle aches, and a runny or stuffy nose are also often present. More severe symptoms and death can also occur.

Those particularly at risk for influenza complications include young children, adults 50 and older, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses. However, the flu can affect anyone of any age.

For more information on flu and pneumonia, visit the MSDH website.

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