RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina officials have reported the state's first child death from flu for this season.
According to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, a child in the central part of the state died last week from complications associated with flu. Officials have not released child's hometown or county at this time. So far this season, 11 adults in North Carolina have died from the flu, with six of those being people 65 or older.
Last week, there were three deaths in North Carolina related to the flu, including the pediatric death, according to statistics released by state officials. Between December 10 and December 23, six people died from the flu.
DHHS reported last week that more than 200 North Carolinians tested positive for the virus. Experts believe peak flu season could come as early as next week.
"Make sure you're using hand sanitizer a lot," said Dr. Charles Bregier with Novant Health. "Carry a little pocket one with you. Use it whenever you touch door knobs or open doors."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that nine pediatric flu deaths have been reported this season from other stats as of December 16. In a press release, officials said that up to half of children who die from flu have no known medical condition that would put them at higher risk.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to the child's family,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. “If anything positive comes from this tragic loss, we hope it will be that people understand that flu is a serious illness. Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu, and it's still not too late to get a flu shot.”