Illinois' First Pediatric Flu-Related Death Of Season Reported In Chicago

WBBM Newsradio Staff
January 09, 2020 - 1:40 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Department of Public Health reported Thursday the state's first flu-related pediatric death of the 2019-20 flu season in Chicago.

The CDPH declined to provide additional details, including the age or date of death, citing patient privacy.

Officials said overall influenza activity is high and at its peak; and nationally, this flu season has resulted in a higher number of child deaths earlier in the season compared to previous years. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that so far this season there have been at least 6.4 million flu illnesses, 55,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths from flu nationally. 

Health officials said it’s not too late to get your flu shot.                                                                             

“The single best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu is to get vaccinated,” said CDPH Acting Commissioner Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, in a statement. “People should know that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine; it is safe, effective, and universally available.”

Everyone six months of age or older is encouraged to get a flu shot, the CDPH said in a statement. It protects against several strains of influenza and can make your illness milder if you do get sick. You can visit CDPH’s Flu Clinic Finder to find a flu shot location in your neighborhood and for updates on local flu activity. Chicago residents can also receive a no-cost flu shot at any of the city’s walk-in immunization clinics. Please call ahead for high-dose vaccine availability.

The CDC also reminds people that they can reduce the risk of spreading viruses like influenza by:

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people. If you are sick, stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.