Skip to comments.Parents Should Be Alert To Flu Signs; eighth child in Michigan to die in the last month
Posted on 03/03/2003 7:46:20 AM PST by RCW2001
By Bradley Flory
Parents began calling Frost Elementary School and the Jackson County Health Department as word spread of the death of 9-year-old Natalie H. Emmons.
They wanted to know one thing: Should we worry about our children?
Emmons, a fourth-grader at Frost, died Thursday after being sick with flu-like symptoms. She had a seizure and then cardiac arrest.
She is at least the eighth child in Michigan to die in the last month after a flu-like illness. Her death comes as Jackson County is at the peak of flu season.
"We don't want parents to panic, but we want them to be alert for signs of severe illness," said Geralyn Lasher, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health.
"Key signs that you should seek medical attention are stiffness and soreness in the neck, very sudden and persistent headaches, sudden high fever, disorientation or difficulty breathing."
Seven cases of influenza are confirmed this year in Jackson County, said Ronald Grimes, head of the Health Department. Many more cases may be undiagnosed because the definitive test, a nasal swab, is rarely given.
Dr. John Maino, county medical examiner, said it will take several days to determine if Emmons had the flu.
Around the state, other suspicious deaths were reported in Washtenaw, Oakland, Kent and Newaygo counties, Lasher said. Three deaths were conclusively linked to influenza and the rest are still being studied.
"There is nothing to suggest that any of the Michigan cases are related to each other or any cases in other states, like Virginia," Lasher said.
"Sadly, this is not out of the ordinary."
Children and adults can increase their chances of staying healthy by taking good preventative measures, Lasher said. She advised getting plenty of rest, good nutrition, exercise and frequent and thorough hand-washing.
Grimes said it is not too late to get a flu shot, although few doses remain at the Health Department. It takes 10 to 15 days for the shot to do any good.
"Getting a shot won't protect you right now," he said. "It's not an immediate thing."
Emmons is survived by her parents, Sandra and Todd Emmons; two sisters, Alexandra and Dayna; and grandparents Richard and Evelyn Horn.
-- Reach reporter Bradley Flory at firstname.lastname@example.org or 768-4925.
I just got done talking to someone at the school and she said that the flu is going around this area. She described it as, 'fever, coughing, flu symps, and it turns into strep throat'.
I will be calling the school nurse here shortly to see what her 'opinions' are about this. I don't expect to get the 'run-around' from her because she's also a Christian.
BTW... I'm NOT trying to cause a panic or 'undue worry'. But since this flu thingy has been known to take kids, I figure forewarned is forearmed.
This is creepy.
This sounds like meningitis.
My youngest daughter (18) was diagnosed with pneumonia a few months back. At the same time I was diagnosed with bronchitis.
Shortly after, another daughter (28) came down with the same cough we had. She developed chest pain and an audible clicking noise in her chest that was eventually diagnosed as possible mitral valve prolapse by an emergency room doctor.
She saw her regular doctor before and after the ER visit. Each time he said he thought she had the pain because she had pulled a muscle.
The pain persisted and she finally got to see a cardiologist who thinks she had (viral) pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around the heart.)
It turned out that a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug was what she needed. The same type of drug her own doctor had recommended for the "pulled muscle."
I forgot to mention that getting a diagnosis of pneumonia took three attempts.
First my husband took her to our clinic, where the doctor said there was "no problem."
A night or two later I made a worried phone call to a doctor who was covering for our clinic and he said there was "no problem."
The next day we brought her in to "urgent visit" at the clinic and an X-ray showed she had pneumonia.