Flu season getting worse: Death toll rises to 37 children

This year physicians are seeing more flu virus' in baby boomers.

A 12-year-old boy in Florida, described by his family as a healthy child, became one of the latest to die from the virus.

The CDC's website says that in the week ending January 20 - the most recent available data - the number of people in the USA seeking care for an influenza-like illness was 6.6 percent, the highest recorded since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The flu usually comes on suddenly.

Also being mourned is Karlie Illg Slaven, 37, who died on Monday in IN from a flu-related illness after taking care of her two sick children.

Dr Sarah Jarvis explained that there are a number of issues with the flu and the vaccine this year.

We're in the worst flu season since 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A Topeka resident said that even with a flu shot, he still contracted the illness.

- Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes.

In the USA, annual flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older.

"People at risk of heart disease should take precautions to prevent respiratory infections, and especially influenza, through measures including vaccinations and handwashing", said Kwong. First, during most seasons, young children aged 0-4 years have been the next most impacted group after those of age over 65, however, this season, people 50-64 are now in that spot; in other words, baby boomers have higher rates than grandchildren right now. "Stay home with it", he said.

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an order to allow pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18.

However, doctors say Tamiflu is not an end all cure for the flu.

The flu this year is more intense than it has been in more than a decade.

The CDC says 39 states reported high flu activity last week- up from 32 the week before.

According to information from the State Department of Health and Senior Services, more than 8,200 cases were reported last week bringing the season total, so far, to almost 54,000 positive cases in the U.S.

To avert the illness from spreading, students who are sick receive a 5-day university excuse and are not allowed to return to school until their temperature goes under 100 F. Last year, it had 122 cases for the entire season, said Joel Dermott, Barton County health department administrator.

The elders are the most affected.

And the Green River District Health Department still has flu shots available. "These are folks that are at the peak of their careers a lot of times", Dr. Jernigan said.

  • Joanne Flowers