A 5-year-old Davidson County boy died Monday evening as a result of the swine flu, the Metro Health Department announced Wednesday.
The boy was taken to a Nashville hospital on Friday evening and diagnosed with the H1N1 virus. It is believed to be the first child swine flu death in the county, according to Brian Todd, health department spokesman.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this child,” Metro Health Director Dr. Bill Paul said in a press release. "Even though most people who get H1N1 flu have a mild illness and quick recovery, this death is a sobering reminder that it can be a serious illness. We all need to pay attention and do what we can to help reduce the spread of the virus."
The Health Department confirmed an increase in the number of flu cases in recent weeks. The department reiterated that parents with children who are not ill, or who only show mild symptoms, should not seek medical care.
Swine flu carries the same symptoms as traditional influenza, including a fever, coughing, sneezing and muscle aches, in addition to vomiting and diarrhea in some cases.
The Health Department said parents whose children display the following symptoms should seek immediate medical attention: fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or interacting, being so irritable that child does not want to be held, flu symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough and fever accompanied by a rash.
Young children and pregnant women are priority groups to receive swine flu vaccinations, which will be available in mid-October. For more information, see the Health Department's Web site or by calling 340-7775.