First flu-related pediatric death of the season in NYC reported, Health Department confirms

NEW YORK — A child has died from the flu, the NYC Health Department announced Thursday, making it the first flu-related pediatric death of the season in the city.

Officials did not release the child’s age, gender and borough.

The Health Department suggests for all New Yorkers to get a flu shot, which is the best way to prevent the flu. All people six months of age and older are encouraged to get a seasonal flu vaccine.

Dr. Gail Shust is a pediatric infectious diseases physician at NYU Langone Health. She said parents should take their children to see a medical professional, “when your child has been sick for several days, has had a fever for more than just a couple of days, has really no energy, no appetite.”

There were about 80,000 deaths and 900,000 hospitalizations from the flu throughout the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. During the last flu season, five children died in the city.

“They are sad reminders of the consequence of not getting immunized,” Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said.

Dr. Barbot says children, pregnant women and the elderly should get the vaccine every year.

“Flu vaccines are available across the city and easy to find at local pharmacies,'' she said. "If you need help finding a location, I encourage you to use the Health Department NYC Health Map. By getting your flu vaccine, you are keeping yourself – and your community – healthy.”

For the first time in 20 years the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new drug to fight the flu in patients over the age of 12. Xofluza can reduce flu symptoms in just one day if its taken within 48 hours of when symptoms first appear.

The flu is a contagious illness that affects the nose, throat, lungs and other parts of the body.

Every year in the U.S., more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and the flu causes about 12,000 to 56,000 deaths each year, the Health Department says.

For more information about the flu and how to prevent it, click here.

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