News

4-year-old dies, tests reveal presence of H1N1

A 4-year-old female child who lived in Kitsap County died on November 9, 2009. Laboratory tests on her respiratory secretions confirmed the presence of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, but it is unclear if she died of H1N1 directly.

"Our hearts go out to this child’s family," Dr. Scott Lindquist, director and health officer of the Kitsap County Health District, said. "This tragedy reminds us that influenza can be a very serious illness, especially in young children."

Since September 19, 2009, the Kitsap County Health District has been notified of 25 local people hospitalized with influenza. There have been two confirmed local deaths from H1N1 which include a man in his 50s and a woman in her 40s.

Parents can find information about preventing the flu and caring for their children with flu at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Web site.

With both seasonal and H1N1 vaccine in short supply, it’s very important for people to continue these three critical prevention strategies: wash your hands frequently, cover your cough and sneeze with your sleeve or a tissue (not your hands), and stay home when you are ill until you have had no fever (without medication) for 24 hours.

The antiviral medications Tamiflu and Relenza are highly recommended as effective weapons against the flu. It’s important to take these medicines within 1 or 2 days of the beginning of flu symptoms in order for them to be most effective. They usually reduce symptoms and shorten illness by 1 -2 days.

If you do become ill, drink plenty of fluids, take non-aspirin fever-reducing medication, and call your health care provider if your symptoms become worse.

You should seek urgent medical care if you have the following signs of serious illness:

For Children:

• Fast breathing or trouble breathing

• Bluish skin color

• Not drinking enough fluids

• Not waking up or not interacting

• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held

• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

• Fever with a rash

For Adults:

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

• Sudden dizziness

• Confusion

• Severe or persistent vomiting

For additional information, please contact Cris Craig, Public Information Officer, at (360) 337-5224 or (360) 204-6687.

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