CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — “That’s crushing to me. It breaks my heart,” said Angela White, a parent.
The community is mourning the loss of a Scenic Middle School student on Monday after sources say the child died as a result of the flu over the weekend.
“I can’t imagine. I feel so bad. I can’t imagine going through that,” said White.
“Just profoundly sad and it’s a great reminder that these kind of things can happen anywhere,” said Phil Getsinger, a parent.
The student is one of at least 29 million cases of the flu this season so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of that number, over 200,000 people have been hospitalized, 16,000 of them have died, 105 of them children, which the agency says is more than most years.
“If you look at the pediatric deaths this year, the majority have been influenza B and very few of those children have been immunized,” said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County Health Officer.
Dr. Shames says children have a very powerful immune response to the flu, which is more common with influenza-B than A.
“It doesn’t mean anybody was negligent, it doesn’t mean it was a sickly person, it just means that their ability to protect themselves took over and it did too good a job,” said Dr. Shames.
Aside from getting your child vaccinated, Dr. Shames says it’s important to treat flu symptoms early whether it’s a high fever that won’t go down, fatigue, chest pain or trouble breathing.
“If you’re sick stay home, try not to expose other people, wash your hands frequently, and there are medications you can take but they are only effective if you catch it really early,” Dr. Shames.
Central Point School District 6 declined to comment on-camera but gave NBC5 News this statement on Monday.
“We’re all mourning the tragic loss of a Scenic Middle School student. All district counselors and psychologists are at Scenic today to support students and staff as they process this loss and grieve.”
Last week, a Marshfield High School student died as a result of complications from getting influenza-B.
Health officials say it’s not too late to get your child vaccinated against the flu.
Visit your local health care provider or county health department for more information.
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