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Child flu deaths highlight the need for immunization

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The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed that six children have died in Texas of flu-related causes since the flu season started at the end of September. Health officials recommend that everyone 6 months old and older get vaccinated now to prevent flu and its potentially devastating effects. 

The children ranged in age from under one year to 16 years old. They lived in four of Texas’ eight public health regions. Four of the children were not vaccinated for the current season. Health officials are still gathering information on the other deaths.

“We’re seeing high levels of flu activity across Texas right now,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS Commissioner. “Young children are one of the groups known to be at high risk of hospitalization or death from complications of the flu. Getting your flu shot is one of the best ways to protect them and everyone else in the community.”

The flu shot is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, young children and older adults because they are at higher risk of developing serious complications. Caregivers should get the flu shot to protect themselves and to prevent spreading the flu to the vulnerable people they care for in their families and communities.

Influenza is an illness caused by one of a number of related viruses. Symptoms usually start suddenly and include fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches and extreme fatigue and can last a week or longer. It is important to note that not all flu sufferers will have a fever.

People can help stop the spread of illness and reduce their chance of catching the flu by getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if they’re sick. Additional flu information and tips are at

People can contact their health care provider, local health department, local pharmacy or use the Vaccine Finder at to find out where flu shots are available. 

Information courtesy of Texas Health and Human Services

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