Chicago reports 1st child to die of flu

CHICAGO -- As we enter the heart of flu season, Chicago health officials said the first child has died as a result of the flu in Chicago.

Health officials said no information about the death will be released due to patient privacy.

It's not even prime flu season, and doctors say symptoms are moving in hard and fast.

"We have seen a fair number of patients with flu, but we try to keep them out of the hospital because you don't want them to infect other individuals," said Dr. Tina Tan, an infectious disease specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital.

Nurses and doctors at Lurie Children's Hospital are dousing their hands in antibacterial before and after each patient. The strain B that's circulating can be more dangerous to children, and Influenza is highly contagious.

"If somebody sneezes on the keyboard and come back right after them to start typing, and you wipe your eyes or rub your eyes, you have a chance of getting influenza," Tan said. "Flu is a very contagious virus. Usually the incubation period is one to two days after you've been exposed to someone with influenza that you yourself could come down with influence."

Vaccination is the first and best way to try to dodge the virus.

"Everybody in the household should be vaccinated," Tan said. "That's the best way to basically prevent spread of influenza in the household."

This season's strain of flu is nothing to mess around with. Doctors said the symptoms are coming on fast, meaning people get hit hard and feel very sick very quickly.

People may feel like they have the flu with fever, sore throat, runny nose, and coughing, but if you get the flu your symptoms will include muscle aches and fatigue. Only a doctor in a lab can test for it.

But the best and most sure way to avoid the flu all together is to get your flu shot.

Everyone six months or older is encouraged to get a flu shot. Children, senior citizens, and people with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to the flu.