Public Health has learned that an elementary-school-aged child in King County has died from complications of influenza.
The CDC estimates that more than 18,000 people nationally were hospitalized due to the flu during week ending December 14.
Doctors in Pierce County say a B-strain of the flu virus was the cause of death for the child there, and they say it's the same strain which also lead to the death of a King County child last week.
The flu vaccine is available at local doctors' offices, retail pharmacies and the county's public health centers.
"For healthy individuals, catching the flu might put a bit of a damper on the holidays but for those who are more vulnerable - like babies, young children, the elderly and people with certain health conditions - the flu can be deadly", said Del Negro. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to determine which flu vaccine is best for you.
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat and body aches. The predominant strain now circulating is an influenza B virus, which is particularly unsafe for young children.
The Flu season for the period 2019-20 is now up and running and it has got off to an extremely weird beginning.
The Porcupine Health Unit is reporting the first case of influenza A in the Cochrane District. The regional or widespread activity was also reported to have been doubled in the last couple of weeks with widespread activity reported by 48 different USA jurisdictions and high flu activity among 21 different states. In all, 5.5 percent of all deaths across the USA during that week were caused by flu or pneumonia, up from 5 percent the prior week.
"They said you have the flu, but they caught this flu early", Patterson said. It's important to stay away from others when you are sick, wash your hands often, and cover your cough to prevent spread of flu.
The health department and Dr.McPherson say flu shots are key, and it's not too late to get one this season. The flu circulates all year, and while an uptick in cases has come earlier than usual, this season probably hasn't reached its peak yet, Dunn said.