The state reported the first death of children from the flu since 2020

The state reported the first death of children from the flu since 2020

The state reported the first death of children from the flu since 2020

RALEIGH, NC — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has released the first statewide child flu death for the 2022-2023 flu season.

This is the first child to die from flu-related complications in the state since 2020.

In order to protect the privacy of the family, the child’s hometown, county, age and gender are not published. However, the child lived in eastern NC.

North Carolina has seen a rapid early rise in flu cases in recent weeks after two years of relatively low flu activity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five adult flu-related deaths have already been reported in North Carolina during the current flu season, and one pediatric flu death has been reported from other states since November 2, 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to this child’s family for this heartbreaking and tragic loss,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore.

The CDC recommends getting a flu shot every year for everyone 6 months of age and older. In addition to being the best way to prevent influenza infection, vaccination can also alleviate the illness in flu patients.

“The flu shot is the most effective protection against the flu,” said Dr. Moore. “There’s still time to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, now is the time.”

More than half of the children who die from the flu have no known medical condition that puts them at greater risk; but studies have shown that vaccines cut the risk of flu-related deaths by half in children with high-risk medical conditions and by two-thirds in healthy children.

Increased risk of RSV this year

North Carolina has also seen increased levels of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this year compared to the same period in recent years, according to data provided to the department.

These trends are similar to those seen nationally, by state.

Early treatment with an antiviral drug can prevent flu infections from becoming more serious. Antiviral treatment works best if started soon after symptoms appear.

Other precautions you can take to protect yourself from spreading the flu and other viruses include:

  • Stay home when you are sick until you have been fever free for at least 24 hours
  • Wash your hands often, preferably with soap and water
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then discard immediately
For more information about the flu and to find out where you can get a flu shot in your community, visit the NCDHHS website.

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