Pediatric flu deaths in Kentucky reach previous record high

Pediatric flu deaths in Kentucky reach previous record high
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 4:07 PM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The year’s flu season has already reached the number of pediatric deaths set during the 2019-2020 flu season when six children died of influenza, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

The Governor is encouraging Kentuckians to get vaccinated against the flu. None of the children who died in the current flu season had received a flu shot, according to the Department for Public Health.

Flu is a serious viral upper respiratory illness that can lead to prolonged sickness and absenteeism from school or work, medical visits to the emergency room or hospitalizations, and, in severe cases, death.

Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches. Co-infections with other respiratory diseases, like RSV, COVID-19 and group A streptococcus, can increase risk of complications.

Though most influenza infections result in mild illness, serious symptoms such as difficulty or fast breathing, seizures, bluish lips or face, high fever (above 104 degrees), fever or cough that improves but then comes back or gets worse, dehydration, or worsening of other medical conditions require medical attention. Antiviral treatment of influenza is also recommended to reduce the severity of the illness.

The CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months older get the annual flu vaccine, especially children who are younger than 5 and people of any age who have a high-risk medical condition, because of their increased risk of developing complications that can lead to hospitalization or death.