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First MD child dies from flu, doctors weigh in

Posted at 11:21 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-06 23:21:46-05

The first child in Maryland has died from the flu this year.  The health department won't give any details on the child or where the death happened but healthcare workers say it's a wake up call to protect your family.

RELATED: First flu-related pediatric death confirmed in Maryland

Urgent cares like Patient First, emergency rooms and doctors' offices are seeing waves of people come in complaining of flu symptoms.  Doctors say parents need to understand the signs and symptoms in order to treat their kids properly.

"Patients come in with a cough and cold with a low grade fever when we check the flu testing it comes positive," Dr. Jay Gopal with Medstar Union Memorial Hospital, told ABC2.

Then, the child may go home, their fever spikes, then they head to the ER.  But Gopal said there are specific things to look for that determines how to care for your child. 

"If temperature is too high 104 or 105, call the doctor, if the child is breathing faster, call your doctor, if the child cant drink, call your doctor."

But you have to hit the hospital if symptoms worsen.

"Respiratory distress and the child is still not taking fluids and getting dehydrated."

Healthcare providers everywhere say they're seeing people pay more attention to the flu. 

"Because of the amount of media that is promoting this flu season, we are seeing a little bit more of an influx of the complaints of flu like symptoms," Patient First, physician assistant, Margaret Byram said.

And with the news of the state's first pediatric victim this year, it's expected to get worse. 

"Now that it's hit a little bit closer to home just make sure again that they're being diligent about their children being seen, tested, treated," said Byram.

It is the peak of flu season. Tuesday, Gopal saw 36 children complaining of feeling sick; of that number, 15 likely had the flu.

"There is more panic in the patient's mind that something terrible is going to happen and we're seeing waves of patients," Gopal said.

This year's vaccine isn't as effective but it's better than nothing, but getting it twice won't keep your kid safer. 

"This flu vaccine is available from September or October and if they've gotten that then a second flu vaccine is not going to be helpful," said Gopal.

The best thing to do is watch your children and be proactive.

"Follow up with pediatricians make sure to look for worsening symptoms and not taking anything too lightly," Byram said.

We always hear about hand washing and sanitizer but the best thing to do if your child is sick with the flu or any other illness is to be home and stay away from other family members and people.

Click here for more flu tips.