Healthy, young people are dying from the flu

HAYSVILLE, Kan. (KWCH) People across the country are dying from the flu.

Photo: USAF

Over the weekend 10-year-old Nico Malozzi was traveling with his hockey team in Western New York when he was diagnosed with the flu. He died on his way back home to Connecticut.

Katie Oxley Thomas, the California mother of three, was in excellent health when she visited the hospital twice in two days. Both times she was diagnosed with the flu and was sent home to rest. She was admitted to intensive care just two days later and died within hours.

Young and seemingly healthy people are dying from the flu.

A physician assistant agrees the number of people dying from the flu is concerning, but says if your children get sick, you don't need to take them to the hospital right away. She says you should take them to their primary care physician or an urgent care to diagnose how bad their sickness is. If your child is extremely lethargic, she says that's a different story, and you will you want to take your child to the hospital.

In California, 42 people under the age of 65 have died so far this season from the illness, and The CDC reports 26 states have high influenza-like illness activity.

"It's unsettling of course to have so many deaths associated with this strain of flu," said Dianna Wright, a physician assistant at Immediate Medical Care in Haysville.

The flu killed 22 children this season, and those are just the reported cases.

"It's a little scary, especially when you see little pediatric patients come in under the age of two, they are very ill with this flu, and some of them are even having to be hospitalized," said Wright.

She says she's seen several people with the flu, and some of them are seriously ill.

"I hate to make people feel like if they catch the flu they're going to die, but at the same time it can be a serious illness," said Wright. "People die of the flu every year."

She says people older than 65, children and those who have conditions like diabetes and asthma need to take extra care to avoid sick people.