As flu season starts, there’s still time to get flu vaccine

The first confirmed pediatric death associated with influenza in the state of Michigan has health officials encouraging residents to get a seasonal flu vaccine.

The death was reported in downstate Osceola County where a child was infected with influenza A/H1N1, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The exact age or gender of the child was not released because of privacy issues, health officials said.

Flu is more than the sniffles and chills. It can and does kill many thousands of people each year. Health officials nationwide last year said the flu season killed more than 79,000 people, including many children, the deadliest outbreak since the 2009 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The very young, the very old or anyone with a compromised immune system are often the first victims.

For a flu vaccine, call your health care provider, local health department or check the Health Map Vaccine Finder at Flushot.healthmap.org.

— The Mining Journal (Marquette)