(WXYZ) – Health officials have confirmed the first two child flu deaths in the state of Michigan in the 2016-2017 season.
The health department says one of the victims lived in Kalamazoo County, the other child was from northern Michigan.
Officials are taking this time to remind residents to get vaccinated for protection.
“The flu vaccine this year is a good match to those viruses circulating in our communities, meaning it offers more protection than it may have in recent years,” stated Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS, in a press release. “It is not too late to get vaccinated. And remember, if you or your child is sick, stay home to help protect others.”
The flu season has been moderate this year in Michigan, but that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t in your community. Unfortunately for two young children who picked up influenza, they passed away. No details have been released but one child lived in northern MI and the other lived in western MI. Kids tend to get the flu more often than adults. Every year millions get sick, many are hospitalized and we just heard, some die from this viral infection.
It’s very common for kids under 5 years of age to need medical care because of the high risk of serious complications like respiratory issues; inflammation of the heart or brain; multi-organ failure, and pneumonia. The main virus that’s been identified this flu season by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is the H3N2 virus. It’s known to cause severe flu infections in children.
Kids spend many days in close quarters with other kids like at school or pre-school. Influenza is very contagious and can live on doorknobs, pens or pencils. A child can also pick it up by breathing in droplets spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If your child gets sick, here are my prescriptions:
- Keep your child home. They’ll get plenty of rest and you can monitor their behavior for complications.
- Make sure they drink lots of fluids or they’ll become dehydrated.
- You can give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lower their fever and ease body aches. Do not give children or teens aspirin.
- Remind your child to wash their hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose.
Talk to your doctor immediately if your child is younger than 5, or has asthma, lung disease, a heart condition or diabetes. Get immediate attention if your child has trouble breathing; their skin is blue or gray; they are not drinking enough fluids; they seem confused, or are very sleepy and lethargic. If you have questions or concerns, never think twice about talking to your doctor.
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