Health Officials ask the public to get their flu shot to help slow the spread of the flu
FLORENCE, Arizona– Pinal County Public Health Services District is saddened to confirm the death of a young child due to influenza. This is the first pediatric flu death in the state of Arizona this flu season.
“This tragic situation, unfortunately, reminds us that flu can cause serious illness and death,” said Dr. Tascha Spears, Health Director for the Pinal County Public Health Services District. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to this child’s family.”
This year’s flu season has started earlier, and hospitals are significantly impacted by the amount of cases presenting in emergency departments.
Since the start of the flu season, there has been a total of 172 lab-confirmed influenza cases reported in Pinal County, and 4,552 cases total in the state of Arizona.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine. The vaccine provides protection from hospitalization and death even if you get the flu. It’s important to get the vaccine as soon as possible because it takes your immune system two weeks to build a defense against the flu.
In addition to vaccine, protect yourself and others from getting the flu by being vigilant in good hygiene: avoid touching your mouth and nose, wash your hands frequently, cover your cough in your sleeve and stay home when you are sick.
Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
fever* or feeling feverish/chills
runny or stuffy nose
muscle or body aches
some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Not only is flu circulating throughout the United States, including Pinal County, but RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and COVID-19 cases are significantly increasing. All three of these respiratory illnesses have similar signs and symptoms. It should be noted that both influenza and RSV were contributing factors in this child’s death.
Those who think they may have the flu or any other respiratory illness and are at high risk for complications are urged to contact their healthcare provider because antiviral medications may help, especially if taken within 48 hours of illness onset.
While there is no vaccine for RSV, those who would like to schedule a flu shot or other immunizations, please call Pinal County Public Health at 1-866-960-0633 or go to vaccines.gov for the nearest vaccine provider location.