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Child From Chicago First In State To Die From Flu This Season, City Officials Report

CHICAGO (CBS) – A child from Chicago has died as a result of the flu, the first flu-related pediatric death of the 2019-20 flu season in Illinois, the city's health department reports.

Overall, influenza activity is high and at its peak. Nationally, this flu season has resulted in a higher number of pediatric deaths earlier in the season compared to previous years and children continue to be at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications.

No other information will be released on the Chicago case due to patient privacy.

Everyone six months of age or older is encouraged to get a flu shot. It protects against several strains of influenza and can make your illness milder if you do get sick.

If prescribed, residents are encouraged to take antiviral medicine to treat or prevent the flu. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick.

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. Most flu deaths come among the elderly or those with immune system problems.  Child deaths are relatively rare. A total of 27 children have died nationwide, the CDC says.

You can reduce your 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.

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