Limiting the spread of flu in children

    Doctors say healthy habits can help prevent the flu. (KOKH/Will Maetzold)

    The first death of a child from the flu in Oklahoma this season. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) said it happened to a child between the ages of five and 17 in Oklahoma County.

    "Any flu death is tragic and with it being a pediatric death, it is still upsetting," OSDH epidemiologist Casey Van Woerkum said. "That's why we recommend anyone who hasn't gotten the flu shot yet, go get their flu shot."

    Dr. Adrienne Kesinger of Integris Physician Services stresses getting a flu shot too.

    She said there are signs to look for in your child to tell if they have the flu.

    "People with the flu really look ill," Kesigner said. "They're laying on the bed when I walk in the room. For a lot of people, support is all they need. They just need to let their body fight off that infection."

    She said medications can help with the flu but you need to be seen quickly after the onset of symptoms.

    "Medications like anti-virals only work well if we treat them quickly," Kesigner said. "So we see them in the first 24-48 hours and usually that works better for the high-risk individuals like asthma kids, the really young kids."

    Kesigner said easy things you can do everyday can help decrease the chance of your child catching the flu. These include good hand washing and sanitizing, drinking fluids and staying home from school if they aren't feeling well. She said good habits will help a child stay healthy.

    "Healthy diet, eating good fruits and vegetables, exercise, good sleep," Kesigner said. "If you set yourself up to be healthy before you get sick, you have a better immune response in order to fight it off."

    The OSDH said some years, the flu can last all the way until April and May. They said that's why it's important to get a flu shot if you haven't yet.

    The OSDH reports one other child died from the flu last year.

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