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Pinal County confirms first child flu death in Arizona

Health officials say this year’s flu season has started earlier, and hospitals are being overwhelmed by the volume of cases seen in their emergency departments.

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. — Pinal County Health officials confirmed Wednesday a child has died from influenza, marking it the first pediatric flu death in the state of Arizona this flu season.

Health officials say this year’s flu season has started earlier, and hospitals are overwhelmed by the volume of cases being seen in their emergency departments.

Pinal County officials say since the start of the flu season, there has been a total of 172 lab-confirmed influenza cases reported in the county and 4,552 cases total in the state of Arizona.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine. The vaccine protects against hospitalization and death even if you get the flu. 

Doctors say it’s important to get the vaccine as soon as possible because it takes your immune system two weeks to build a defense against the flu.

Health experts recommend, in addition to the vaccine, protect yourself and others from getting the flu by having good hygiene: avoid touching your mouth and nose, wash your hands frequently, cover your cough in your sleeve and stay home when you are sick.

Not only is the flu circulating throughout the United States, including Arizona, but RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and COVID-19 cases are significantly increasing, doctors say.  

Officials say that both influenza and RSV were contributing factors in this child’s death.

Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, doctors say. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

It’s also important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

While there is no vaccine for RSV, if you want to schedule a flu shot or other immunizations, please go to vaccines.gov for the nearest vaccine provider location.

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