Health officials: Local child who had flu dies
BOSTON (WHDH) -- A child under the age of six who had the flu has died, health officials confirmed Friday.
On Wednesday, Boston Mayor Menino declared a public health emergency after 18 people state-wide died from the flu.
Now, there's a rush to get the vaccine as doctors warn about the dangerous virus.
Doctors say not only did the outbreak start earlier this year -- but the symptoms are more serious. And that's sending patients young and old to clinics to get vaccinated.
Five-year-old Jackson Joyner clearly didn't want his flu shot, but his mother was willing to endure the crying and the long line at the Upham's Corner Health Center to make sure he received one.
Moments later, with a high five, Jackson agreed with mom he's a winner.
“We wanted to make sure that he didn’t get the flu and that other kids didn’t get the flu. So that’s why I went through what you just saw here,” said Seneca Joyner.
There has been a run on flu vaccine this season. THE CDC says 128 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed -- only 135 million were made.
This year’s flu is especially strong and can spread quickly. Experts say you can be exposed to the virus six feet away from a person who coughs or sneezes. And once you are infected, it’s easy to pass it on to family and coworkers -- even before you have symptoms.
An adult can be contagious 24 hours before they feel ill and make others sick for up to a week after. Children may be contagious longer than a week.
The young and elderly are most at risk for serious complications from the flu.
Jereline Watch says that's what got her to a clinic for just her second flu shot ever.
“Old people are dying and getting real sick so I thought I’d get mine,” said Watch.
The CDC says more states are feeling the flu epidemic while some southern states appear to have peaked.
Experts say skipping the shot in hopes the worst is over here is not a good bet.
"I really think that folks need to be prepared for a February spike. That is to say the peak of the curve happening in February -- which means it’s going to be a really high number of people that are getting the flu,” said Dr. Pat Egan, Dorchester House Medical Center.
The city of Boston will be running a number a free clinics this weekend.