Over the past several weeks, deaths of Americans of all ages from the flu have made headlines.
It has been a particularly troubling flu season thus far for Gasconade County Health Department officials.
"No indications. No warnings". Children and the elderly are considered to be especially at risk from the flu. Their families said they were healthy until the sudden illness struck.
Flu can be very unsafe for children.
Eighteen flu deaths were recorded last week in Pennsylvania. In addition to DHEC, many local providers, including doctors' offices, pharmacies, college health centers, schools, and workplaces, are still offering flu vaccines. At least one child has died in Bexar County this season due to flu-related complications.
The rate of infection is staggering as most of the country becomes infected.
Sepsis is another complication that can lead to death.
Whether those deaths have been a result of the virus is yet to be determined.
According to the CDC, the first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year.
"We've been incredibly busy with acute illnesses, whether it's the flu or any other respiratory type thing", said pharmacist Casey Moix. The CDC recommends anyone who doesn't feel well or has a fever to talk to their doctor before getting a flu shot. Historically February is the worst month of the year for flu outbreak.
If you experience flu-like symptoms, stay home 24-48 hours after symptoms resolve, unless you are seeking medical care. The flu vaccine is safe and helps protect children from flu. "Antiviral medications should be started early to have their best chance of helping".
Wash your hands frequently, and cover your cough. Dr. Phillips says that's futile, since it's almost impossible to disinfect every surface that a child or adult may have coughed or sneezed on, and that a person might then touch.
If your child is 5 years and older without long-term health problems and gets flu symptoms, including a fever and/or cough, consult your doctor as needed.