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Ingham County child dies from influenza before coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus prevention measures encouraged to also prevent the spread of the flu

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2020, photo, a syringe with influenza vaccine inside heads for its mark during a flu vaccination at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. A second wave of flu is hitting the U.S., turning this season into one of the nastiest flu seasons for kids in a decade. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2020, photo, a syringe with influenza vaccine inside heads for its mark during a flu vaccination at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. A second wave of flu is hitting the U.S., turning this season into one of the nastiest flu seasons for kids in a decade. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LANSING, Mich. – Public health officials confirmed Sunday that an Ingham County child died from influenza (flu) in January.

Officials said the child was the fifth in Michigan to die from the flu during the 2019-2020 flu season. Additional details regarding the child’s identity and condition have not been released.

According to officials, the 2019-2020 flu season has logged 168 pediatric deaths across the country -- the highest number of flu-related pediatric deaths in more than a decade.

However, the Ingham County Health Department says the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) mitigation measures have helped decrease “influenza activity”. Officials hope the steps taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are also followed to prevent the spread of the flu.

“We hope that the changes in habits surrounding COVID-19 will have an impact on future flu seasons,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail. “Many of these deaths are preventable, and many of the measures being emphasized to protect ourselves from COVID-19 are the very precautions we urge people to take every flu season.”

Health officials say people should wash their hands, avoid interaction with those who are ill and get the flu vaccine annually to prevent contracting the flu.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention and Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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