JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - During National Influenza Vaccination Week, the State Health Department reports the first child’s flu death this season.
Doctors recommend that children get immunized as early as six months old.
The Mississippi State Health Department confirms that one child from south Mississippi has died of the flu.
Medical experts say the child, who was under the age of 18, had underlying health conditions.
According to the MSHD, in 2017 there were 183 influenza deaths in children, three of those were in Mississippi.
Eighty percent of the pediatric deaths were in children who were not vaccinated against the flu.
“People who are high risk particularly for the flu are very young children,” said Dr. April Palmer, head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UMMC. “Any child under five, particularly children under the age of two, are considered high risk -- along with anybody with a chronic medical condition.”
Dr. Bhagyashri Navalkele‚ Infectious Disease Specialist at UMMC, said the flu is slowly increasing across the country.
“Some states have local activities," explained Dr. Navalkele. "Some states have high activity, like Louisiana and Georgia. I’ve seen high fly activity at this point but Mississippi, we have a low level of activity.”
Bob Brasfield made sure his children were protected from the flu.
“The school required them to have a flu shot every year, and I would have done it anyway. I totally believe in the flu shot,” said Brasfield. “My children are grown now, but they get them, themselves and I do every year.”
To prevent the flu and its spread, medical experts recommend that you avoid close contact with sick people.
Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, throw away the tissue when done and wash your hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.