Department of Health reports first pediatric flu death of 2022-2023 season


SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) reports today the death of a two-year-old Otero County girl from flu-related illness, New Mexico’s first pediatric flu death of the 2022-2023 season. Since the start of the flu season, DOH has identified 233 pneumonia and flu-related deaths.

While flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illness activity have decreased in recent weeks, all of them can cause hospitalizations and death throughout the year.  While most people get flu vaccinations later in the summer and fall, the most important factor is getting a vaccination at some point each year.  However, since COVID-19 has not always followed a seasonal pattern, any time of the year is good to get vaccinated if you qualify for initial vaccination or booster shots against it.

Reducing the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses takes a community effort.  The Department of Health recommends that everyone six months of age and older get flu vaccine each flu season.  It is especially important for the following groups of people, either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications, or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications: 

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old 
  • Children aged 6 months through 8 years who have never been vaccinated against flu, or have an unknown vaccination history, should receive two doses of flu vaccine, administered at least 4 weeks apart 
  • Pregnant women (all trimesters), and up to two weeks post-partum  
  • People ages 50 years and older  
  • People of any age with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, lung or heart disease, and those who are immunocompromised  
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities  
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including healthcare personnel and caregivers of babies younger than six months 
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives 
  • People who are morbidly obese  

In addition to getting vaccinated, DOH also recommends the following COVID-Safe Practices to help prevent catching or spreading flu: 

  • Wash your hands and your children’s hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after contact with other people and before eating 
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve 
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer after blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing, even if you use a tissue 
  • Maintain distance from other people and consider wearing a face covering when possible in public 
  • Stay home if you have fever and/or respiratory symptoms 
  • Ask your doctor about antiviral medicines if you seek medical care for flu. These medicines are most effective if given within two days of your symptoms starting, but may still help even after two days 

Even if you’ve unvaccinated and already had the flu this season, getting a flu shot can still help prevent getting sick again with another strain. Check with your health care provider about flu vaccines. To find out more about flu vaccination clinics throughout New Mexico, you can go to HealthMap Vaccine Finder at https://vaccinefinder.gov/ or go to the DOH website: http://nmhealth.org/about/phd/idb/imp/fluv/


Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.


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El Departamento de salud informa la primera muerte pediátrica por gripe de la temporada 2022-2023

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