First flu-related death this season confirmed in Massachusetts


BOSTON, Mass (WWLP) – The first flu-related pediatric death in Massachusetts of this flu season has been confirmed Thursday.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the teenager lived in Worcester County and tested positive for influenza B.

Last flu season there were four confirmed pediatric flu-related deaths in Massachusetts.

As of January 11, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported a total of 39 influenza-related pediatric deaths this flu season nationwide.

A news release sent to 22News states that this season, between 2,000 to 3,000 Massachusetts residents have been hospitalized with the flu, and there have been 15,000 to 20,000 emergency room visits.

“I feel immense sorrow for the family of this child. This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for both children and adults. Every flu season is different, but January and February are typically the height of flu season. We want people to know that it’s not too late to get a flu shot.”

– Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH

Common flu symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Some people, especially young children, may also have diarrhea and vomiting.

Symptoms last from a few days to up to a week or more.

The flu is spread person to person through drops of saliva and mucus from the nose and mouth

How to stop the flu from spreading:

  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have the flu. The provider may prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started early in the illness.
  • If symptoms do not improve or worsen rapidly, you should seek medical attention immediately.
  • Get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. The vaccine is still available, and there is likely to be flu activity for many more weeks
  • Stay home when you are sick with fever and cough or a sore throat, if possible. People should stay at home until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.

If you have not had your flu shot yet, the Department of Public Health is urging EVERYONE to get vaccinated. If you think you have the flu or have flu-like symptoms you should call your healthcare provider for possible treatment.

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