OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the OKC-County Health Department (OCCHD) report the first pediatric death associated with the flu since the season began in September.
The death occurred in an Oklahoma County resident between the ages of 5-17.
The flu report for this week shows there have been 1,244 flu-associated hospitalizations and 31 deaths so far this season.
Public Health officials encourage anyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot.
“Young children are among those most at risk for serious illness and death from influenza, so healthy individuals who get a flu shot are helping to protect those who cannot take a flu shot, including infants under the age of 6 months,” said OCCHD Executive Director Gary Cox. “Another benefit to getting the flu vaccine is that if you do by chance get the flu, your illness will be much milder than if you had not received a vaccine.”
Officials also say in addition to getting the flu shot practice frequent hand washing and cover your sneeze and cough.
Those who are having flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and chills are encouraged to stay home from public gatherings until they are able to go 24 hours without a fever, and without fever-reducing medication.
Parents should be aware of children with emergency warning signs of flu including the following according to Public Health officials:
Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Fever with a rash
If an infant is unable to eat, has trouble breathing, has no tears when crying, and has significantly fewer wet diapers than normal parents and caregivers should seek medical help right away
For more information, contact your local county health department or visit the OK Flu View at flu.health.ok.gov.