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A child died this month from the flu in Connecticut

Doctors say don't delay getting the flu shot this year.
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Doctors say don't delay getting the flu shot this year.

The first Connecticut child has died from the flu this season, according to the state Department of Public Health. The unidentified child, who is under the age of 10 from New Haven County, died earlier this month.

Data shows there are more than 22,000 flu cases in the state with over 530 hospitalizations and 18 deaths.

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said while the flu season is between October and May, the highest levels of influenza are seen between December and March.

“What we're seeing is that the southern hemisphere … had higher flu rates initially several weeks ago and that has been marching its way up through the northern states and across our state as well,” Dr. Juthani said in a statement Thursday. “This is a much earlier season than we've seen in the past. it's looking to be one of the worst in the last 10 years.”

Dr. Juthani said the spread of respiratory viruses like the flu, COVID-19 and RSV, which can be dangerous for children under the age of 2, can be prevented through good personal hygiene. These practices include handwashing, remaining home when sick, and disinfecting surfaces.

She also recommends wearing a mask for those who have any respiratory symptoms.

“There are some that we can do to try to protect ourselves,” Dr. Juthani said, “So, for our very youngest of children they are not eligible for the flu shot but for six months and older children they are eligible for the flu shot, as is everybody.”

“I know for many people they have not gotten a flu shot in the past. I would strongly recommend getting one this time around,” she added.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.