FAIR LAWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Flu fears are growing among Tri-State parents after the death of a young boy in Connecticut.
The Centers for Disease Control says the flu is at an epidemic level, and doctors offices in the area have been slammed this season. The calls have been non-stop, and for parents like Carmen Robles, there’s a definite sense of urgency to get in as soon as possible.
On Wednesday, she was in for her second trip this week with eight-year-old Justin to see the pediatrician in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
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“I’m concerned it might be the flu,” she told CBS2’s Jessica Layton. “I saw today that some children are dying. That’s what’s worrying us.”
“I think it takes one death for everybody to realize how severe influenza can be,” pediatrician Dr. Jeffrey Bienstock siad.
Dr. Bienstock is referring to the heartbreaking case of 10-year-old Nico Mallozzi, a Connecticut boy who died from complications of the flu after attending a hockey tournament in Buffalo.
“In our practice, pediatric care associates had several children that were up in that same tournament,” Dr. Bienstock said. “Everybody’s on heightened alert.”
A map provided by the CDC shows how serious influenza has become. Over the course of several weeks, infection across the country has gone from sporadic to widespread. Hawaii is the only state relatively spared.
Since the start of the year, in Dr. Bienstock’s office alone there have been 13 confirmed cases of flu in children. Of those 13 children, 11 didn’t receive a flu shot.
“Vaccinate,” Dr. Bienstock said. “I can’t stress that enough.”
It’s still not too late, he urged. If you suspect your child has the flu, it’s important to have plenty of rest with lots of fluids.
“Stay at home until able to resume all their activities,” he added.