Harris County reports first flu-related death involving child this season

HOUSTON – Harris County health officials on Monday reported the county's first flu-related death of a child this season.

Officials said they will not release any other information about the child, citing confidentiality concerns; however, they said this is a reminder that the flu can be a serious illness.

“This death is a somber reminder of the danger flu poses to our residents, especially those who are more vulnerable to develop serious flu complications,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health. “Obtaining a flu shot and taking other preventive measures are your best lines of defense against the flu.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that 84 children nationwide have died of the flu so far this season.

“What may be circulating through our community may be different in another community and that’s why it’s particularly important that people go and get tested if they have symptoms consistent with the flu,” Shah said.

Officials reported that this year’s vaccine offers good protection for children between 6 months and 8 years old.

Local teachers are taking precautions to help eliminate the spread of the flu.

“We just wash our hands as much as possible, and if I see anything going on in the classroom, I immediately report it to the nurse,” said Angela Gardner, a local teacher.

Symptoms of the flu include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Some people also experience vomiting or diarrhea.

Health officials said people who experience flu-like symptoms should stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours to avoid spreading the illness.

Flu season generally runs from October to May, officials said.

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