Pinal County confirms first pediatric flu death in Arizona – San Tan Valley News & Info

Pinal County Public Health Services District is saddened to confirm the death of a young child due to the flu. This is the first pediatric flu death in the state of Arizona this flu season.

“This tragic situation is a sad reminder that the flu can cause serious illness and death,” said Dr. Tascha Spears, director of health for the Pinal County Public Health Services District. “Our condolences go out to this child’s family.”

This year’s flu season has started earlier and hospitals are significantly impacted by the number of cases presenting in emergency departments.
Since the beginning of the flu season, a total of 172 lab-confirmed flu cases have been reported in Pinal County and a total of 4,552 cases in the state of Arizona.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine. The vaccine protects against hospitalization and death, even if you get the flu. It’s important to get the vaccine as soon as possible because it takes two weeks for your immune system to build up a defense against the flu.

Protect yourself and others from the flu by being vigilant about good hygiene: avoid touching your mouth and nose, wash your hands regularly, cover your cough in your sleeve, and stay home if you’re sick.

Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or fever/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body pain
  • headache
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than in adults.

*It is important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

Not only is flu circulating in the United States, including Pinal County, but RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and COVID-19 cases are on the rise. All three of these respiratory conditions have similar signs and symptoms. It should be noted that both flu and RSV played a role in the death of this child.

Those who believe they have the flu or other respiratory illness and are at high risk of complications are urged to contact their health care provider as antiviral medications may help, especially if taken within 48 hours of the onset of illness.

While there is no vaccine for RSV, those wishing to schedule a flu shot or other immunizations can call Pinal County Public Health at 1-866-960-0633 or visit for the vaccine provider’s location closest to you.

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