HAVERHILL — Health officials have confirmed the first flu-related pediatric death in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said Tuesday that the child was under the age of 10 and lived in Essex County. Newscenter 5 has learned that the child is a 6-year-old girl who died this week in Haverhill. The Essex District Attorney's Office said Delilah Lovelace's death was medical in nature.
"This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for some people,’’ said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel. “Every flu season is different, but every flu season is bad. This one arrived early and continues to spread, leading many people throughout the Commonwealth to get sick.’’
As of Feb. 3, the CDC had reported a total of 63 flu-related pediatric deaths nationwide. So far, there have been more than 8,000 confirmed flu cases in the state this season.
To stop flu from spreading, DPH recommends that people do the following:
Talk to their healthcare provider (call first) if they think they have the flu, especially if they have health concerns that make them more likely to develop severe illness when sick with the flu. The doctor may prescribe antiviral medications, which work best when started early in the illness. If symptoms do not improve or worsen rapidly, they should seek medical attention immediately.
Get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. Vaccine is still available, and there is likely to be flu activity for weeks to come.
Stay home when they are sick with fever and cough or a sore throat, if possible. People should stay at home until they have gone 24 hours without fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Wash their hands thoroughly and regularly, or use hand sanitizer.
Cover their coughs and sneezes.