On Monday, October 15, the CDC announced the first confirmed death from the 2018-2019 flu season. A child in Florida died between September 30 and October 6, and tested positive for type B of the flu, or the ‘Victoria.’ The ‘Victoria’ was first found in Australia in 1975 and bears the H3N2 subtype.
But is the Type A strain of the flu that dangerous? Absolutely! Although the flu can seem like a minor illness, it killed 80,000 people, including 180 children, during last year’s flu season. Most died from an overactive immune system catalyzed by the flu, although a handful died from secondary conditions, like pneumonia.
There are a few steps that you can take to ensure that you and your children are safe in the face of these outbreaks. One easy step that you can take is getting your flu shot preemptively before you become sick. Drink lots of fluids, get lots of rest, and wash your hands in hot water often. If you or a family member becomes ill with the flu, be sure to stay home from school or work, except to head to the doctor to get an antiviral medication, like Tamiflu. Avoid any unnecessary hospital visits to minimize the spread of the flu, but head to the hospital if you have any symptoms like difficulty breathing, confusion, or sudden dizziness. These symptoms can be indicative of something more insidious.