LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Across the country, 32 children have died from the flu this season, including one here in Southern Nevada under the age of four.
The total number of deaths among children, due to the flu is double what it was this time last year.
That is because the flu is unpredictable and experts have seen a shift in the predominant strain which is usually influenza A. This year, it’s influenza B, which tends to affect children more. They tend to have a more severe reaction to this strain.
Dr. Jay Fisher, medical director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at UMC Children’s Hospital and he says he has seen some close calls this season.
“We’ve had to put several children on life support systems over the last few months because of the flu…usually having to do with brain inflammation and heart inflammation associated with the flu,” added Dr. Fisher.
Dr. Fisher says people have to realize this is not a cold. This is a virus that can have a life-threatening consequence, and parents need to pay attention to the warning signs.
“Anytime a child gets a very sudden high fever, change in behavior, refusal to move, complaints of pain, refusing to eat or drink…these symptoms can be vague, but whenever a family has a concern that’s what we are here for to try to assess them, and how sick they are,” added Dr. Fisher.
He also says it’s not too late for the entire family to get their vaccine since the flu season can go until April or May.
Dr. Fisher added that children who have received the flu vaccine, and then gone on to get the flu typically suffer less severe consequences that those who do not.