May 26, 2019
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Washington County child dies from influenza

Stock photo | Pexels
Stock photo | Pexels

A child from Washington County has died after contracting the flu, according to state officials.

It is the first child death associated with influenza in Maine this flu season, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. Identifying information about the child, including name, gender and age, was not provided.

Since last fall, 39 people in Maine have died from the flu, including four in the past week. The disease poses a higher risk to young children, seniors, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions than it does to other people. More than 9,100 Mainers have tested positive for flu this season, and 935 have been hospitalized for treatment, according to the Maine CDC.

The child tested positive for influenza A, which is the dominant strain affecting people this winter. The child had not been vaccinated for the disease, according to the Maine CDC.

The last time a child in Maine died from the flu was in March 2016, according to the release.

Influenza causes a fever of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit and a cough or sore throat. It causes mild illness for most people but can be treated with antiviral medication. Such treatment works best when started within two days of getting sick, but starting treatment later still can be helpful, especially for people at high risk, state officials said.

Parents should seek immediate help if a child has difficulty breathing, chest pain, fever above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, dehydration or other severe symptoms.

The four primary methods people should follow to avoid contracting or spreading the disease include getting vaccinated, washing hands, covering coughs with a tissue or shirtsleeve, and staying home when sick.

More information is available at www.maineflu.gov or at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services website, www.maine.gov/dhhs.



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