LAKE COUNTY, Ohio — Health officials in Lake County are reporting their first flu-associated pediatric death of the 2019-20 flu season, an 11-year-old from Lake County.
No additional information about this particular case was provided. The Lake County General Health District is investigating the death.
This is the second flu-associated pediatric death in Ohio, with the first being a 16-year-old girl from Cuyahoga County in January.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that as of January 31, 2019, there were 68 pediatric deaths in the United States. As of January 25, 2020, there have been 3,642 flu-associated hospitalizations reported in Ohio so far this flu season.
“Getting the flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu for everyone 6 months and older,” said Tara Perkins, LCGHD Director of Nursing. “Flu hospitalizations could still be on the rise. You need to protect yourself, your friends and your family and get a flu shot now if you haven’t already.”
The flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, but people who still get sick despite having received the flu vaccine may have milder symptoms. Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu vaccination is available at most healthcare providers’ offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies. There are no flu vaccine shortages across Ohio.
The CDC recommends that healthcare providers prescribe one of four antiviral drugs as a second line of defense as soon as possible to patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who are hospitalized, have severe illness, or may be at higher risk for flu complications.
“These antiviral medications can reduce the severity of the flu and prevent serious flu complications,” Perkins said. “They work best when started within two days of getting sick.”
Other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include: washing hands frequently or using alcoholbased hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues or coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick.
“If you are sick with the flu, stay home. Help protect others when you are not feeling well,” Perkins commented.