Last week, Riverside County Health officials reported a twelve-year-old child had died while being treated at a local hospital—the first flu-related death of the season.
Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser confirmed the child lived in the western part of the county and was admitted to the hospital with acute respiratory distress. The child ultimately tested positive for influenza. According to Kaiser the child, who was not identified, “Had a history of underlying health problems.”
“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of this child. The death is a disturbing reminder how serious the flu can be, particularly for those with underlying health issues, the very young and the elderly,” said Kaiser. “It’s also an important reminder that getting a flu shot could help you avoid the flu altogether.”
“There is still time to get the flu shot,” Kaiser continued. He added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone who is at least six months old receive a flu vaccination each year. “So far, testing has shown this year’s flu vaccine to be a good match for viruses currently in circulation,” he confirmed. For more information on where flu shots are being offered throughout Riverside County, visit www.rivcoimm.org.
Kaiser also recommended frequent hand washing; avoiding getting close to people who are sick; and maintaining a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and daily exercise as ways to avoid the flu. “It also is important that anyone ill with fever and cough not to go to work or school,” he stressed.
During the 2015-16 flu season, there was a total of nine flu-related deaths reported in Riverside County.