Sobering stats out of the CDC Friday show that 37 kids have perished from the respiratory illness as of last Saturday—and the flu season is on track to be one of the worst in 15 years, the Washington Post reports. Nearly 12,000 people have required hospitalization so far, and flu activity was said to be high or even "extreme" in 39 states, as well as New York City and Puerto Rico. Health officials say the final pediatric death toll might exceed the 148 deaths recorded in the 2014-15 season. More details and developments:
- NBC News reports the death toll may be even higher than what's been reported, and Dr. John Williams, head of pediatric infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, notes "we probably haven't peaked yet." Although NBC adds that influenza usually isn't cause for too much alarm with prompt and proper treatment, it cites the cases of two children who died this month after experiencing "typical" cold or flu symptoms. The best way to keep your own kids safe, says Williams: Get them vaccinated.
- Fox 8 Cleveland lists child-specific symptoms parents should look for that might warrant a trip to the doctor, including labored breathing, finding it hard to keep from dozing off, and an unrelenting fever (or one that vanishes, only to reemerge). "It's incredible to think about a normal, healthy child who can succumb to the flu and succumb very, very quickly," a Cleveland Clinic doctor warns.