PHOENIX — Maricopa County officials have confirmed the first pediatric flu-related death in the Valley this season.
On Tuesday, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health confirmed a child who was not immunized died from influenza.
There were two pediatric deaths recorded during the last flu season, officials said.
“This incredibly sad case reminds us that even though the flu is common, it can cause serious illness and even death,” said Dr. Nick Staab, medical epidemiologist at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “This is a tragic reminder that anyone who is able to get the flu shot should, not only to protect themselves, but to protect those around them who are at highest risk of severe disease and death from the flu.”
Health officials estimate the annual deaths from influenza among adults nationwide range from 5,000 to more than 60,000 depending on the severity of the season.
“If you haven’t received your flu shot yet, please get vaccinated as soon as you can,” said Dr. Staab. “You can help prevent the spread of flu in our community, especially to older adults, younger children, and others who can’t get vaccinated or are at higher risk of flu complications.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine.
Ways to protect yourself and those around you from the flu include:
- Get the vaccine as soon as possible. It takes your immune system about 2 weeks to build defense against the flu
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your mouth and nose
- Cover your cough in your sleeve
- Stay home when you are sick