Haverhill 1st grader MA first child flu death of season

17 February, 2018, 01:06 | Author: Inez Murphy
  • Mark Boster | TNS | BDN Mark Boster | TNS | BDN

The child was an Essex County resident.

"Influenza activity continues to be widespread and, unfortunately, more people are dying from the flu", said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. Connolly said the exact cause of death is pending an autopsy by the medical examiner's office.

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. Unfortunately, flu vaccines don't work as well against H3N2 viruses, which means some people who get vaccinated will still get sick; however, flu vaccination helps make illness milder for those who do get sick.

There have been eight flu-related deaths in Nova Scotia over the past week, and health officials say it may be the result of an abnormal influenza season.

Scientists think part of the reason for that has to do with when people are born and what kind of flu viruses they're first exposed to in life. "This being a particularly bad flu year, people can still get prevention with a vaccine", Solomon said.

Vaccine effectiveness is tricky to measure, because there is no way to know how many vaccinated people never got ill at all.

Three more Minnesota children have died from flu complications, a sign that the state's influenza toll is catching up to what has been a severe season nationally. Typically the very old, very young, and immuno-compromised are hit hardest by the flu. Influenza B is more common in children than in adults.

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Jennifer Thomas, nursing director and administrator at the Mason County Health Department, said flu season can begin as early as September and last as long as April. If symptoms do not improve or worsen rapidly, they should seek medical attention immediately.

According to the CDC, the best way for parents to protect their children is to get them vaccinated every year. Vaccine is still available, and there is likely to be flu activity for weeks to come. If you do get sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. The CDC recommends an individual to stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks.

Wash their hands thoroughly and regularly, or use hand sanitizer. Cover your cough and sneeze.

The flu virus is spread through droplets of saliva and mucus from the nose and mouth. The Mayo Clinic cites many other causes of flu-like symptoms which may surface such as unexpected flu strains, other illnesses and the two-week lag between receiving the shot and being protected from the virus.

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