The Maine CDC says a Maine child has died from influenza, for the first time since early 2020.

How Do Health Officials Know It's a Flu-Related Death?

Health officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention have not released any information about the child's age or location, but say that they had tested positive for Influenza A. It's the first recorded pediatric death from the flu since February of 2020. Influenza-associated deaths of people younger than 18 must be reported to the Maine CDC. An 'influenza-related death' is defined as a person who tests positive for influenza and passes away before recovering.

What are the Symptoms of Flu and How Do I Avoid Getting Sick?

Influenza is circulating at elevated levels in the state, so health officials are cautioning residents to take the necessary precautions to try and prevent catching the flu.

  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover your cough
  • Stay home if you're sick to avoid infecting others
  • Get vaccinated

The flu vaccine is available through doctors' offices and at pharmacies around the state. Health officials say it's still the best defense against the flu. While it won't necessarily prevent you from getting sick, it will significantly decrease the symptoms and longevity of your illness.

Symptoms of influenza include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Most people have mild symptoms from the flu but some people are at higher risk of developing complications. Those at high risk include people 65 years and older, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions.

Influenza can be treated with antiviral medication. However, it works best if treatment starts within two days of getting sick. Getting treated later can still help, especially for people who are at higher risk of serious illness. Health officials advise contacting your doctor if you start showing flu symptoms.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Child's Flu Symptoms?

The Maine CDC urges parents to seek immediate medical care if their child is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty or changes in breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Chest pain
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • Fever above 104 degrees
  • Fever or cough that improves but then returns or worsens
  • Worsening of chronic health conditions

Find more information on the Maine CDC's Influenza website. For questions about vaccination, contact the Maine Immunization Program at 800-867-4775. To report a pediatric death or for more information, call the Maine CDC's 24-hour Disease Reporting Hotline at 1-800-821-5821.

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