4-year-old Ohio boy dies from the flu

Montgomery County, OH (WOIO) - A 4-year-old is the first pediatric flu death during this flu season in Ohio, according to the Montgomery County Health Department.

The death was reported on Jan. 6.

Officials say the little boy was admitted to Dayton Children's Hospital and died shortly thereafter.

"It is a tragedy anytime a loved one is lost and we extend our condolences to the family and friends who are affected," said Dr. Michael Dohn, Medical Director, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

Last flu season there were seven pediatric deaths in Ohio.

"No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu. Our hearts go out the family," says Jon Woltmann, MD, infectious disease department at Dayton Children's Hospital. "We encourage parents to get their children vaccinated to not only protect them, but children who are not able to get the vaccine due to underlying health conditions."

This season's flu virus has many people worried and the number of cases is growing.

Health officials say this year's flu strain has hit some people the hardest. Since the flu season started, 1,250 people have been admitted to ER with flu like symptoms.

"It's hard to tell year to year  why one strain is a little harder than another. but typically H3N2 is harder hitting in terms of the hospitalizations we see and the number of fatalities," said Richard Stacklin, Data Analyst for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

The Cuyahoga County Health Department tells me that getting a flu shot before the season starts helps reduce the risk of getting the flu by 40 to 60 percent.

Experts say the two most important things people can do to reduce the risk of getting flu is to wash your hands and to sneeze or cough into your elbow, so that you don't spread germs.

It's also important to know the difference between a cold and the flu.

"If you have the flu, you're going to have fever with it, typically well over a 100 degrees and so you're going to have fevers, you're going to have cough, sore throat, you'll have, may have shakes, chills and so it's much different than the symptoms you'll have for a simple cold vs. having flu," said Stacklin.

Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible as vaccination is the best protection against seasonable flu viruses.

It's still not too late to get vaccinated as the flu season extends until the end of spring.

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