State reports second child flu death

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The state Department of Health confirmed the state’s second death from influenza of a child under the age of 18 during the current flu season, the department said in a press release.

The child was a resident of South Mississippi, the release said.

The department noted that this was the 16th death since reporting of pediatric flu deaths began in the 2007-2008 flu season. Nationwide, 72 pediatric flu deaths have been confirmed for the current 2016-17 flu season as of April 8.

Influenza infections can lead to serious complications and sometimes death, even for healthy children and young adults. From 3,000 to 49,000 deaths in the U.S. are attributed to influenza each year, the release stated.

The department gave the following tips for combating flu:

• Seasonal flu vaccination, which the it said is the best protection against the flu for adults and children ages six months and older.

• Good handwashing practices can protect against flu infection.

• Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and by staying home when you are sick can prevent the spread of flu.

• Visit your healthcare provider if you are sick with the flu and its symptoms. Medications are available that can lessen the severity of illness from the flu.