SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION-TV)- On Monday, California health officials reported the first death of a young child due to flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus infection, also known as RSV. The child was under the age of five.
"Our hearts go out to the family of this young child," said State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Tomás Aragón. "This tragic event serves as a stark reminder that respiratory viruses can be deadly, especially in very young children and infants. We are entering a busy winter virus season – with RSV, flu and COVID-19 spreading – and urge parents and guardians to vaccinate their children as soon as possible against flu and COVID-19."
Health leaders said young children are most vulnerable to severe complications from RSV and the flu, especially if they have underlying medical conditions or were born prematurely.
The CDC recommends the following to protect children:
- Get Vaccinated, Boosted and Treated if You Test Positive
Flu and COVID-19 vaccines are your best defense to limit severe illness and death – and you can get both simultaneously. If you test positive for COVID-19, immediately contact your doctor or a test-to-treat site to seek treatment. Treatments for flu and COVID-19 work best when started soon after symptoms begin.
- Stay Home if You’re Sick!
It’s crucial to stay home if you are feeling ill. Avoid close contact with others to protect them, and take the time you need to heal. This is especially important for respiratory viruses like the flu, RSV and COVID-19, which can lead to more severe illness.
- Wear a Mask
There is no vaccine for RSV, so wearing a mask can significantly slow the spread and protect babies and young children who do not yet have immunity and are too young to wear a mask themselves. Wearing a mask in indoor public places is a good way to limit the spread of germs.
- Wash Your Hands
Frequent handwashing, with soap and warm water – for at least 20 seconds is an easy and very effective way to prevent getting sick and spreading germs.
- Cover Your Cough or Sneeze
Remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow, your arm, or a disposable tissue to help prevent the spread of winter viruses. Just make sure to wash your hands or sanitize and dispose of your tissue after.