BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed the first pediatric flu-related death of the season on Thursday.
Officials said the person was a Worcester County teenager who had tested positive for the influenza B virus.
"I feel immense sorrow for the family of this child. This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for both children and adults," Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, said. “Every flu season is different, but January and February are typically the height of flu season. We want people to know that it’s not too late to get a flu shot.”
Health officials say that a flu shot is the best way to prevent getting sick. They also recommend washing your hand regularly, covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home when you're feeling ill. They also say it's best to stay home for another 24 hours after a fever breaks.
There have been 39 reported flu-related pediatric deaths across the country this season. Last year in Massachusetts, there were four confirmed pediatric flu-related deaths in the state.