COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health reported Friday the first pediatric influenza death of the 2021-22 season. 

What You Need To Know

  • Ohio reported its first pediatric influenza death of the 2021-22 season

  • Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 14 pediatric influenza deaths through late last week

  • The state is reporting far fewer flu-related hospitalizations compared with two years ago

  • The Ohio Department of Health says that COVID-19 mitigation efforts tempered the spread of influenza

ODH said an 8-month-old Ashland County infant died of influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 14 pediatric influenza deaths nationwide this season. 

State health officials said the 2021-22 flu season remains far less active than prior years. According to the Ohio Department of Health, there have been 972 flu-associated hospitalizations. At this point during the 2019-20 season, there were 10,540 hospitalizations. 

Last year at this point, there were 108 hospitalizations. ODH said that COVID-19 mitigation measures, such as masking, social distancing and increased ventilation, significantly decreased the spread of influenza. 

According to the CDC, influenza poses more danger than the common cold. The CDC recommends that all children over 6 months old get vaccinated against the flu. 

The CDC said complications from the flu among children in this age group can include:

  • Pneumonia: an illness where the lungs get infected and inflamed
  • Dehydration: when a child’s body loses too much water and salts, often because fluid losses are greater than from fluid intake)
  • Worsening of long-term medical problems like heart disease or asthma
  • Brain dysfunction such as encephalopathy
  • Sinus problems and ear infections
  • In rare cases, flu complications can lead to death