The Roundup -

First Pediatric Influenza Death in Montana


RiverStone Health, in conjunction with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, has confirmed the first pediatric death of the 2017-2018 influenza season in Montana. The school-age child was a Yellowstone County resident.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that there have been total of 97 flu-related pediatric deaths so far this season. In Montana, the last flu-related pediatric deaths occurred during the 2015-2016 influenza season when two children under the age of 18 died.

Influenza activity remains widespread in Montana; however, there has been a decline in recent weeks in overall case counts, hospitalizations, and influenza-like illnesses. To date, there have been 6,500 cases, 674 hospitalizations, and 33 deaths reported in Montana. In Yellowstone County, there have been 649 reported cases; 131 hospitalizations, and four deaths, including the pediatric death.

There still are many weeks of flu activity left and the CDC continues to recommend getting a flu vaccine to help protect against influenza.

The disease spreads through coughing and sneezing with symptoms that can include high fever, chills, headaches, exhaustion, sore throat, cough and body aches. It may take about 1 to 4 days after being exposed to the virus for symptoms to develop. Additionally, you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

Everyday precautions can help stop the spread of influenza. Those measures include:

• Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

• Washing your hands often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available.

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Avoiding close contact with sick people.

• Staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or necessities.


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