AUGUSTA—The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified the first influenza-associated pediatric death of the 2022-2023 influenza (flu) season. The child tested positive for influenza A.
Flu continues to spread at elevated levels across Maine. Flu causes a fever (≥100°F) and a cough or sore throat. People may also experience runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and tiredness. Most people with flu have mild illness. However, certain people are at high risk for more serious illness including children, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions.
The best protection from severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death is to get the flu vaccine. Early data suggest that this year's flu vaccine is a good match for the virus circulating in the U.S.
Flu can be treated with antiviral medications. Treatment works best when started within two days of getting sick. However, starting treatment later can still be helpful, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Contact your health care provider if you or your child are at high risk of serious illness and develop flu symptoms.
Seek immediate medical care if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty or changes in breathing
- Bluish lips or face
- Chest pain
- Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
- Not alert or interacting when awake
- Fever above 104°F
- Fever or cough that improves but then returns or worsens
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
Maine CDC recommends following the “No Flu 4 You” guidelines, which include:
- Wash your hands: Wash hands frequently with soap and water to prevent spread of flu.
- Cover your cough: Use tissues, or cough into your sleeve.
- Stay home when you are sick: People with symptoms should remain home until 24 hours after fever resolves without the use of medications.
- Get vaccinated: It is not too late to get vaccinated. Maine CDC recommends vaccination for everyone ages 6 months and older. This includes people at high risk of serious flu complications. The flu vaccine is provided at no cost by the State of Maine for all children under 19 years of age.
For more information:
- Influenza: www.maineflu.gov
- Maine immunization program: www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/immunization/
- Influenza surveillance reports: www.maine.gov/dhhs/flu/weekly
Influenza-associated deaths of individuals younger than 18 years old must be reported in Maine. An influenza-associated death is when a person has symptoms with a positive influenza test and dies before recovering.
For questions about vaccination, please contact the Maine Immunization Program at 800-867-4775, or email@example.com. If you have questions or need to report an influenza-associated pediatric death, please call Maine CDC’s 24-hour Disease Reporting Hotline at 1-800-821-5821.