Pima County confirms first child flu death for 2023

(KOLD News 13)
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 9:20 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The Pima County Health Department confirmed the first child flu death of the year.

The department says the elementary school-aged child became sick and passed away in mid-May.

The last pediatric flu death in Pima County was in 2022. Since October 2022, 3,627 flu cases have been reported to PCHD. Of those cases, 28% were reported in people 19 to 49 years old, which is the group that most commonly gets infected. This year’s pediatric death occurred outside of the regular flu season and was within an age group that is generally low risk. The Pima County Health Department says that should serve as a reminder that flu can spread year-round and should be taken seriously.

“If you have not gotten vaccinated against the flu, you should as soon as you can,” said Pima County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen. “Getting a flu shot is one of the best tools we have to help protect ourselves against severe illness. Not only will the vaccine help better protect you, but it also protects those community members who are most vulnerable and at high-risk.”

The department says the best way to reduce your risk from flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone age six months and older get the flu vaccine and practice everyday preventive actions like covering coughs and sneezes, staying away from sick people and washing your hands often. People at high risk for influenza complications should see a health care professional promptly if they develop flu symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated.

Along with the very young and the very old, underlying chronic medical conditions that can increase the risk for serious flu complications include asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions, pregnancy; and a weakened immune system.

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