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North Carolina reports first pediatric flu death since 2020

NCDHHS announced the first pediatric flu death of the 2022-23 Season, urges flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Our state is reporting the first pediatric flu death of the season.

A child in eastern North Carolina died from complications from the flu.

The death reported is the first pediatric flu death since February 2020.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said our state has seen a rapid rise in flu cases in the last few weeks.

This comes after two years of low flu activity since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Dr. Mike Cinoman is the Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Cone Health. 

He said the number of kids who get flu shots is lower than health officials would like to see. 

"It's certainly not the vast majority of people. It's not a required vaccine for people to go to school, so a lot of people choose not to get it," Dr. Cinoman said. 

The flu vaccine can also make your symptoms milder if you do happen to get it. 

While the flu is usually not as serious as other viruses we are seeing right now, like COVID-19 or RSV, the flu can still have complications.

"It's usually not as life-threatening for small children as RSV but it can be, so children do die from this, fortunately, it's relatively rare," Dr. Cinoman said. 

NCDHHS said that so far this season, five adult flu-related deaths have been reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone older than six months should get vaccinated against the flu every year.

The flu vaccine can also make your symptoms milder if you do happen to get the infection.

NCDHHS said children younger than five years old are at a higher risk for serious illness from the flu.

North Carolina has also seen increased cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this year compared to this time in the last couple of years, according to data reported to the department.

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