BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein reports a six-year-old girl died from complications from influenza on Monday night at Women and Children's Hospital. This is the first pediatric death attributed to influenza in Erie County. The name of the victim has not been released due to health privacy laws.
Dr. Burstein is reminding the public of the importance of getting a flu shot every year. It is especially important for some people to get vaccinated, including:
• People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu, including: people who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, morbid obesity, and chronic lung disease; pregnant or post-partum women or women who are breast feeding; and people 65 years and older,
• People who are immunosuppressed,
• People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications,
• Health care providers, and
• Young children, especially those under 2 years of age.
Signs and symptoms of the flu include: fever or feeling feverish/chills (although not everyone with the flu will have a fever); cough; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; muscle or body aches; headaches; fatigue; some people may experience vomiting or diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") recommend that yearly flu vaccination should begin in September and last throughout the flu season, which can last as late as May due to variations in the timing and duration of the season.
In Western New York the peak flu season is in February/March, but influenza seasons are unpredictable; vaccines received throughout the fall and winter will remain viable through the end of June 2013.