Flu-related death of child hits close to home for local family

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana State Department of Health says a child has died an influenza-associated death.

The latest flu report from the department says a child under the age of 5 has died.

This is the first death under the age of 5 in the 2018-19 flu season.

A total of 66 flu-related deaths have been reported this season. Nine of those happened in Marion County.

News of the death hit close to home for Indy resident Jim Hodges and his wife Michaela.

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My daughter, Jessie, gets sick very very easily from the flu and colds. So when she had the flu she was actually hospitalized for a few days and it was pretty scary, said Jim Hodges.

Hodges his daughter got sick with the flu in December. That’s during what the CDC calls peak flu season. 

Jessie had a 103 degree temperature.

She had fever vomiting, stomach ache, headache sore throat, runny nose, could not sleep, could not eat. She couldn’t keep anything down, said Michaela Hodges.

But the flu wasn’t done with the Hodges.

It was pretty bad. All of the kids got it and then passed it straight to me. I had it for about a week/week and a half, said Jim Hodges.

With this season’s flu taking a nasty turn, and lasting longer than normal, Hodges says he is taking extra precautions to keep his kids safe.

Make sure that they wash their hands and make sure they are as careful as possible in public restrooms and just in public in general, said Jim Hodges. 

Officials with the Marion County Health Department said local emergency rooms are packed with people reportedly suffering from the flu. That’s why they are asking anyone with mild cases of flu symptoms to not go to the ER first. Instead, go to your nearest walk-in clinic or your health care provider. 

Marion County Health officials said this will help cut back on overcrowded emergency rooms. 

Flu symptoms (From the CDC):

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills.
  • Cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.