Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Davidson County Child Dies From H1N1 Influenza

Channel 5 News NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A 5-year-old boy died from H1N1 influenza in Davidson County. Officials with the Metro Public Health Department said the boy became ill Friday night and died Monday night at an area hospital. The identity of the child was not released. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this child," said Dr. Bill Paul, Director of Health of Nashville/Davidson County. "Even though most people who get H1N1 flu have a mild illness and quick recovery, this death is a sobering reminder that it can be a serious illness." During the fall months, the common cold and other flu-like illnesses are usually reported at higher levels. Officials with the health department said it's easy for patients to confuse these illnesses with more serious viruses. Paul said an increased awareness of differentiating symptoms of the H1N1 virus would help keep residents healthy. "We all need to pay attention and do what we can to help reduce the spread of the virus," he said. Seasonal flu and H1N1 influenza both include includes fever, muscle aches, and either cough, sore throat or runny nose. Headache, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea also may occur. Health department officials said most patients will recover on their own and do not require specific testing or treatment. Parents should seek emergency medical care if a child experiences fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting and becoming so irritable that the child does not want to be held. With H1N1 influenza, flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with a fever and severe cough. Officials said young children and pregnant women are at an additional risk of complications and should take extra precaution. "Even though the risks are relatively small, extra caution is important for those at higher risk," Paul said. Health department officials said the best way to stay healthy is to avoid close contact with people who are sick, cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of your elbow or a tissue and wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Adults and children should also get a flu shot.

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