California reports first death of child under 5 from flu and RSV of winter season

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — On Monday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported the first death of a child under age 5 from flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this winter season.

CDPH said it would not release any more information about the child for now to protect patient confidentiality.

“This tragic event serves as a stark reminder that respiratory viruses can be deadly, especially in very young children and infants,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, state public health officer and CDPH director. “We are entering a busy winter virus season – with RSV, flu and COVID-19 spreading – and urge parents and carers to vaccinate their children against flu and COVID-19 as soon as possible.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respiratory syncytial virus is a “common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms.”

The CDC said most people recover within two weeks, but RSV can be serious for infants and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States.

CDPH said the RSV season, which usually starts in December and peaks in February, started in October this year.

CDPH advised healthcare facilities that do not have pediatric services to “examine short-term measures to expand capacity for evaluation and treatment of pediatric patients” in response to an expected increase in hospitalizations due to an early winter virus season.

CDC estimates that RSV is responsible for 100-300 deaths and 58,000-80,000 hospitalizations of children age 5 or younger in the United States annually.

CDPH has also issued guidelines to help prevent the spread of disease:

  1. Get vaccinated, boosted and treated if you test positive
    Flu and COVID-19 vaccines remain your best defense for limiting serious illness and death – and you can get both at the same time. If you test positive for COVID-19, contact your doctor or a test-to-treat site immediately to seek treatment. Treatments for flu and COVID-19 work best when started soon after symptoms begin.
  2. Stay home if you are sick!
    It is crucial to stay home if you feel sick. Avoid close contact with others to protect them and take the time you need to heal. This is especially important for respiratory viruses such as flu, RSV and COVID-19, which can lead to a more serious illness.
  3. Wear a mask
    There is no vaccine for RSV, so wearing a mask can significantly slow its spread and protect babies and young children who do not yet have immunity and are too young to wear a mask themselves. Wearing a mask in indoor public places is a good way to limit the spread of germs.
  4. Wash your hands
    Washing your hands regularly, with soap and warm water – for at least 20 seconds – is an easy and very effective way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs.
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze
    Don’t forget to cough or sneeze into your elbow, arm or a disposable handkerchief to help prevent the spread of winter viruses. Make sure to wash or disinfect your hands and dispose of your tissue afterwards.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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