Influenza associated deaths of two young children from Michigan raise concern over the disease

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The deaths of two young children in Michigan from influenza associated illnesses have raised concerns about the seasonal disease.

The Michigan Department of Community Health provides weekly updates on influenza cases in the state and the latest report identified an uptick.

Henry Ford Hospital has treated sporadic cases to date, according to Dr. Sam Mossallam, an emergency physician and associate chief medical officer.

"When we start talking about an epidemic, the largest number or quantity of cases, that's usually a little bit later in the winter, when winter is firmly entrenched," said Mossallam.

Vaccination in the form of a flu shot is recommended for everyone from six months of age and for anybody above the age of 65, according to Mossallam.

"That is the best medicine and it's the best preventative measure that we have, is to get their flu shots," he said.

Other safety tips include:

  • Washing of hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Coughing into a sleeve—not your hands
  • Avoid touching door knobs, which others may have infected
  • Keep hand disinfectants in purses and your vehicle
  • If you feel sick, stay home and away from other people

"Influenza symptoms include headaches, high fevers, body aches, general muscle ache, followed by a respiratory condition, coughing and that sort of stuff," Mossallam said.

Flu shots can taken through the month of February, according to Mossallam. The flu season typically runs into the month of April.


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