MADISON — Kenosha County has suffered its first mortality from pediatric influenza of the 2022-23 flu season. This was confirmed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Tuesday.
To date, 30 pediatric influenza-associated deaths have been reported from across the nation, according to a press release.
All Wisconsinites, especially children, are encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible, said DHS Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist Dr. Ryan Westergaard. Early data shows this year’s flu vaccine is a match to current strains and will prevent or reduce symptoms of influenza infection.
“DHS is saddened to report the first death of a child from influenza in Wisconsin this season,” Westergaard said. “Flu cases are on the rise throughout the state, and it is important to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Flu vaccines are safe and effective, and we urge all eligible Wisconsinites to get their shot as soon as possible. It is the most powerful tool we have to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death during flu season.”
Steps to preventing influenza
Everyone six months and older should get the flu vaccine, according to the DHS, and it is especially important for people who are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill, such as those who are pregnant, age 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions. Getting vaccinated will help keep you from spreading the virus to others.
Wisconsinites can find a location offering the flu vaccine by visiting vaccines.gov or by calling 211 or 877-947-2211.
The DHS also offers a number of daily actions that can help stop the spread of germs and increase protection:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth.
- Stay home and away from others if you feel sick.
- Avoid being around others who are sick or have flu symptoms.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and encourage children to do the same.
- Wear a high-quality mask around others to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.
These steps will help prevent the flu and other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and RSV. Respiratory viruses spread easily so it is important to take these actions and get vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you.
Up-to-date information about the current flu season can be found in the DHS Weekly Respiratory Report.
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