Pediatric flu deaths on the rise in Tenn.

Updated: Feb. 5, 2020 at 2:55 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Another child in Tennessee has died from the flu. The total is now up to 10. One child has died in West Tennessee.

Flu season still has several weeks left, and the number of people getting sick and dying is continuing to grow. According to the Tennessee Health Department, only one child died during last flu season. During the 2017-2018 flu season ten children died.

Doctors say different complications of the flu can be deadly to different children, but they know a flu shot will protect anyone.

“We know getting a flu shot won’t completely protect you from getting the flu it does protect against hospitalization and death due to the flu,” said Dr. Sandy Arnold, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease and UT Health Services Center and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Arnold said when the CDC started collecting data on child deaths due to the flu or flu like illnesses it noticed a trend.

“One thing they found while doing that is most children who die from the flu are not vaccinated,” Dr. Arnold said.

Symptoms of the flu include a fever, body aches, a cough and sore throat. When you see these symptoms in you or your child go to the doctor.

Dr. Arnold said the flu left untreated could create a secondary bacterial infection, like pneumonia, which is deadly.

“You want to look at fevers that are not going away, or the fever goes away then comes back, or any of their symptoms not starting to resolve in a few days,” Dr. Arnold said.

You can call your doctor or county health department to get a flu shot. The Tennessee Department of Health said some local health departments have free flu shots available.

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