The Arkansas Department of Health has reported the first pediatric flu-related death of the season in Arkansas.
According to the MDHHS, a child in Osceola County died after catching the flu. Although Michigan has only experienced localized flu activity over the past few weeks, MDHHS strongly recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.
The vaccine not only can help you avoid the flu, it can also help make illnesses less severe for those who do still get sick.
This is the sixth flu-related death in the state for this season.
Just last week, the CDC said the flu season was off to a slow start, but all that changed a couple of days ago when the number of reported cases rose to the point where the flu season is officially underway, said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.
This week the CDC also recorded the seventh pediatric flu death of the season; the patient had an influenza A virus that was not subtyped. "I encourage all New Yorkers older than six months to get their influenza vaccine as soon as possible".
The good news is that the strains of flu circulating at this time seem to be a good match with the vaccines available.
Last year's flu season also really didn't peak until January-February, and even extended into March, so it's not too late to get the shot.
So far, 173 people have been hospitalized because of the flu virus.
There's nearly no reason why someone shouldn't get a flu shot, she added, and it's not just about keeping you healthy, but preventing the spread of influenza to other New Yorkers. Vaccination is especially important for anyone at increased risk for complications from flu, including children, adults aged 65 years and older, people of any age with underlying medical conditions, and pregnant women.