MYNORTHWEST NEWS

King County has first pediatric flu death in three years

Nov 23, 2022, 2:05 PM

Pediatric flu...

(Photo By Joaquin Corchero/Europa Press via Getty Images)

(Photo By Joaquin Corchero/Europa Press via Getty Images)

A child in King County has died from the flu for the first time since the 2019-2020 flu season.

The elementary school-aged child’s death is also the county’s first known overall flu death in a flu season that has taken off with an early and turbulent start.

“Since October, we have seen early and rapidly increasing flu activity locally compared to past seasons,” said Dr. Eric Chow, chief of Public Health – Seattle and King County’s Communicable Disease and Epidemiology Division, during a briefing.

Flu season wreaking havoc on kids in Washington state

Along with COVID and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), cases of the flu are filling up emergency rooms, especially when it comes to kids.

“This death comes at a time of a steep rise in respiratory viral infections, particularly among children, leading to increased emergency department visits and hospitalizations,” Chow said.

He compared the situation at pediatric hospitals to high points in the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that “it is likely that these trends will continue in the coming weeks and will continue to add to the burden faced by our health care system.”

More from Nicole Jennings: Bivalent booster protects against omicron mutations ahead of winter

Most of the time, children recover at home from these respiratory illnesses and do not require hospitalization. If your child has one of these milder cases, health officials ask you not to visit the ER to save limited resources for those children with severe cases.

“[Hospitals] are a last line of defense. They have to be there to take care of people, regardless of their capacity,” Chow said. “And whatever we can do to take steps as a community to mitigate that, I think we should all be employing.”

If you are not sure if your child’s symptoms are serious enough to warrant an ER visit, Chow suggests a call or telehealth visit to their primary care physician. Symptoms to watch out for include a fever that lasts more than a few days or a fever in a baby under three months old, extreme lethargy, difficulty breathing, and dehydration.

Follow Nicole Jennings on Twitter or email her here

MyNorthwest News

Photo: There was a Tacoma crash overnight. Now one man is dead, and Tacoma police say another man w...

Deedee Sun, KIRO 7 News

Deadly crash in Central Tacoma has residents worried about safety of intersection

There was a Tacoma crash overnight. Now one man is dead, and Tacoma police say another man will be facing vehicular homicide charges.

12 hours ago

Image: Muckleshoot Casino....

KIRO 7 News Staff

Man fatally stabbed in the neck by stranger at Muckleshoot Casino

A man was at a gaming table at the Muckleshoot Casino when a second man approached him from behind and stabbed him in the neck.

22 hours ago

Semi Bird...

Bill Kaczaraba

Semi Bird wins endorsement for governor from state GOP

Republican candidate for governor Semi Bird has won the endorsement of the GOP state convention on Saturday.

2 days ago

Quarantine hotel...

Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News

International students remain in quarantine in King County hotel after measles exposure

RENTON, Wash. — A group of over a dozen international students from Africa are in quarantine in a King County hotel after they were exposed to measles. As of Friday, according to several host families for the students, they have been in quarantine since April 10. None of the students have tested positive for measles […]

2 days ago

Washington State University (WSU) President Kirk Schulz, left, and his wife Noel Schulz speak durin...

Steve Coogan

Washington State University President Kirk Schulz announces plan to retire in 2025

Washington State University President Kirk Schulz announced his plan Friday to retire in June 2025. He has held the position since 2016.

2 days ago

wsp charges protest I-5...

Heather Bosch and Kate Stone

Charges filed against protesters who shut down I-5 in Seattle

Charges have been filed against six protesters who were involved in the pro-Palestinian protest that shut down I-5 in Seattle on Jan. 6.

3 days ago

King County has first pediatric flu death in three years