Two young boys in Ohio have died from the flu as one of the most severe flu seasons in recent memory rages on across the United States.
The tragic incidents should serve as a reminder for parents to have their children administered with flu shots, as they are the most vulnerable to the disease.
According to Ohio health officials, two boys have died in the state due to the flu. The two victims are a one-year-old baby from Lucas County and a four-year-old child from Montgomery County.
The deaths of the two boys are the first reported flu fatalities in children in Ohio since the flu season started in October. According to the state’s Department of Health, 1,750 new patients were hospitalized last week compared to 925 new hospitalizations in the previous week and only 285 reported cases in the first week of 2017.
“The virus that’s out there is a particularly bad actor with kids,” said Ohio’s Department of Health medical director Clint Koenig. “We continue to recommend the flu shot, because we are seeing numbers continue to rise.”
Experts have warned that babies and children are particularly vulnerable to the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children below five years old have an increased risk of developing serious complications related to the flu. Babies below two years old, meanwhile, face an even higher risk.
The flu season is particularly bad in California, leading to medicine shortage, crowded emergency rooms, and alarming death rates.
“People think the flu is not serious. The flu can be a deadly illness, and every year thousands of people die from it,” said Franklin County Public Health medical director Miller Sullivan. “The flu is not to be taken for granted.”
Doctors and health officials continue to recommend parents to have flu shots administered to their children. Even if the flu season is already in full swing, it is never too late to receive flu shots.
Researchers from the CDC confirmed earlier this year that flu vaccination is capable of saving the lives of children. The effectiveness of flu shots is not perfect, but for children who get the flu even when vaccinated, the effects are milder.
In addition to getting flu shots for the children, additional guidelines that families can follow to keep everyone safe from the flu include frequent hand washing, limiting or avoiding contact with people suffering from the flu, avoiding to touch the face — as this spreads germs — and disinfecting objects and surfaces that may be contaminated.