‘It’s always sad:’ Doctors urge vaccinations after 2nd pediatric flu death in Wisconsin this season

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MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported the second pediatric death from influenza in Wisconsin this season in their weekly flu report for the week ending March 30. Doctors said Tuesday, April 9 it's not too late to get your flu shot.

The DHS report indicated 82 people died nationwide a result of the flu since October 2018.

Dr. LuAnn Moraski

Dr. LuAnn Moraski

The first flu death in Wisconsin was reported in February.

"It's always sad, as a physician, to hear about a death of a child that could potentially be prevented. It is late in the season, but it is a testament to how deadly the flu can be," said Dr. LuAnn Moraski with Your MD in Mequon.

According to a news release from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, a 2017 study showed that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from the flu. Getting vaccinated decreases the chance of getting sick and reduces the severity of illness if one still gets sick. Getting vaccinated yourself also helps protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services flu report for week ending March 30

"The virus can be spread within four to eight feet, so if you're in contact with someone who's sick, you're at risk regardless of if it's April or February," said Dr. Moraski. It's never too late to get a flu shot and it's never too late to put it on the calendar for next year as well, starting in September or October."

At the first signs of illness, you're encouraged to see your doctor.

Flu shot (Getty Images)

"If your child has a high spiking fever, if you notice your child isn't eating or drinking, if you notice a new cough, those things are all triggers to at least touch base with your pediatrician," said Dr. Moraski. "The best thing we can do is to get immunized."

CLICK HERE to find a flu shot location near you.

Below is a statement from Lyn Ranta, MD, director of physician affairs at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin:

"This week, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported the second pediatric death from influenza in Wisconsin this season. That child’s family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy.

"Although many don’t think about the flu at this point in the year, it is still active in Wisconsin and it’s as dangerous now as it was in the fall and winter. It can cause serious illness and death, even in previously healthy children. Everyone should be diligent about hand washing, and if you or your children are sick, please stay home. If you or your child have underlying health concerns and you develop symptoms of the flu, please call your health provider."

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