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Flu Season 2018: First Child Dies in Florida From the Illness This Season

Flu activity is beginning to pick up for the 2018-2019 season, and one of the earliest deaths was already reported.

A child in Florida died after coming down with the flu in week 40 of the year, the Florida Department of Health confirmed to Newsweek. The child tested positive for influenza B and subsequently died from the infection between September 30 and October 6. Details about the child’s age and where the child lived in the state were unavailable, but the child was healthy before they got the flu, according to USA Today.

Last flu season was particularly deadly, especially among children. There were 172 pediatric flu-related deaths during the 2017-2018 season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in June. That number broke the previous record for the most deaths, which was set during the 2012-2013 season, when the death toll was 171.

The CDC records the flu-related deaths of anyone under the age of 18. For those over the age of 18, the deaths typically aren’t reported to the CDC, and the flu is rarely recorded as the cause of death because it’s typically complications from the flu that end up resulting in death.

The flu-related deaths have been reported to the CDC for those under the age of 18 since 2004. Some seasons saw as few as 37 deaths, like the 2011-2012 season, a stark difference when compared to the most recent season.

The CDC recommends that children over the age of 6 months get vaccinated as soon as possible so that the vaccine has time to start working before the season hits its peak. It also recommends that most people get the vaccine before the end of October.

“Annual vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from influenza and its potentially severe complications. Now is the perfect time to get vaccinated. Stay home when you’re sick, and keep your children home when they’re sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water,” the Florida Department of Health recommends.

Children between 6 months and 5 years of age are at a high risk for serious flu-related complications, so it’s important that precautions are taken to prevent the illness in the first place, according to the CDC.

Complications associated with the flu can include pneumonia, dehydration, sinus or ear infections and more. In some severe cases, children die from the complications the flu can cause. Children who already have chronic conditions or health problems are more at risk for getting the flu as well.

flu vaccine fill A registered nurse draws a dose of flu vaccine prior to administering vaccinations at the Maine Town Hall, in Niles, Illinois, on November 16, 2004. Florida recently reported the first death of the 2018-2019 flu season. Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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