RICHMOND (WRIC)—The flu has claimed the lives of 10 children already this year; one of these deaths occurred in the Commonwealth.
Doctor David Arkin, a pediatrician, says this year's flu is striking more young, healthy people than usual.
"It could happen to anybody," he said.
Sometimes death can occur—even if the patient is otherwise healthy.
"There's nothing that seems to go wrong," Arkin said. "Anyone can get complications from the flu."
The Virginia Department of Health says a pre-school-aged toddler died from the flu this week in Northern Virginia. The child's death is the first reported in the Commonwealth this year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia has one of the highest flu rates in the country during January. Virginia is one of 14 states marked in red on the CDC flu map, meaning it has a high flu rate. Many of the states surrounding the Commonwealth are in moderate to light colors.
In Richmond, the flu is already widespread at levels usually not seen until late February. The primary strain going around this year is H1N1, which you may recall from 2009, is swine flu. The good news is, it's not as dangerous now as it was then.
"People are immune to it now," Arkin said. "We've given out a lot of flu shots against it; it's been in the flu vaccine every year since 2009."
Doctors say that vaccines are still the best way to fight the flu. The flu season isn't over yet, and it's not too late to get the flu shot.
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