Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Medical | By Mark Scott

First Child Dies of Influenza in New Jersey

First Child Dies of Influenza in New Jersey

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has noted the main kind of flu found this year is included in this year's vaccine, meaning people will be better protected if they are vaccinated.

ME had 510 confirmed influenza cases through January 5 - the latest figures available - down from 768 during the same time period in 2017-18.

"The flu is alive and well", said Dallas County's Interim Health and Human Services Director Ganesh Shivaramaiyer.

Thorough hand washing remains your best protection against flus and colds, says Island Health.

It is recommended that children over six months get flu shots.

If you get the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu symptoms.

The nasal vaccine is back as an option this year, however, Phillips says it's still not certain it's as effective as the shot.

Last season at that point, 11,275 cases of lab-confirmed flu had been reported.

"According to the CDC, children up to age four are among the most vulnerable populations".

However one doctor at St. Francis Hospital said there are actually fewer cases than previous year.

Quinton didn't receive an influenza vaccination, his father says, because the school program that was supposed to give him his flu shot didn't follow through.

"There were more states right before Christmas that had a higher flu activity, and so that made us know, once Christmas was over, our activity was going to go up as well with all the traveling", said Dr. Korri Phillips of Cotton O'Neil Express Care.

The flu season began early this year, in November, and has hit the region's children and young adults harder than in past years.

Children 6 months old and younger typically have antibodies in their system passed on by their mothers, and after that, it can take children up to five years to develop a strong immune system.

Anyone experiencing trouble breathing, high fever that lasts for several days or those with chronic health conditions are advised to see a physician.

The predominant influenza strain affecting adults and children alike this year is H1N1, a serotype of the Influenza A virus that caused the deadly Spanish flu pandemic a century ago and the so-called "swine flu" pandemic of 2009 and 2010.

The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness).

With the flu, most people report a sudden onset of symptoms.

Quinton's case illustrates the true cost of a disease that some people dismiss as "just the flu".

The CDC reviews the effectiveness of the vaccine each year and often bases expectations on how virulent the strain was and how it was treated in the southern hemisphere, such as Australia.

"Some years it peaks in February, sometimes it peaks in March or April", Bennett said.

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