RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — A child from central North Carolina died last week from complications associated with influenza.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, it is the first pediatric death reported for the 2017-2018 flu season.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the child’s family,” said North Carolina Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. “If anything positive comes from this tragic loss, we hope it will be that people understand that flu is a serious illness. Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu, and it’s still not too late to get a flu shot.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported nine pediatric deaths across the country this flu season, as of Dec. 16.
Virginia is currently experiencing “widespread” flu activity, according to the CDC. This means labs have confirmed cases of the flu in at least half the regions of the state.
Officials say people who think they might have the flu should contact their doctor right away to see if they need treatment. Early treatment can help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious.
Other precautions people can take to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses include staying home when sick until fever-free for at least 24 hours, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue promptly and washing hands frequently, preferably with soap and water.