Health officials: Flu expected to peak at end of January

Health officials: Flu expected to peak at end of January

It is shaping up to be a bad flu season.

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control shows 38 states have widespread flu activity, Florida included. One Pensacola mom said she nearly lost her daughter because of it.

Kimi Boden expected her 20-month-old daughter, Madilynn, to be cruising around the house and opening presents on Christmas morning. She said that did not happen.

"She wanted to be held and didn't want to do anything and she really didn't want to open her presents," Boden said.

The day after Christmas, Boden knew something was wrong when Madilynn's little legs gave out. After visiting the hospital, the toddler was diagnosed with the flu. Boden said her daughter's kidneys were on the verge of failing.

"You don't think anything of it, especially the flu, being able to do that and, you know, put them in that much danger because normally it's just them getting sick," Boden said.

Dr. John Lanza, director of the Florida Department of Health Escambia County, said the flu can be deadly for children, especially infants.

"They have little to no protection other than what the mother has transferred to them," Lanza said.

That is why he stresses pregnant women should get the flu shot. In fact, he recommends it for everyone. In Florida, flu activity among all age groups has increased compared to the past two years. The flu activity started earlier than usual. According to the health department, Florida did not see widespread flu activity until the beginning of December for the 2016-2017 season. Flu activity in the 2017-2018 season started in December.

"Based on the amount of activity, they're predicting a more significant flu season this year than last year with a peak perhaps at the end of January," Lanza said.

The most predominant flu strain circulating right now in Florida is AH3. Boden said that is the one that sent Madilynn to the hospital. She said they will be getting the flu shot from now on to lower the chances of the sickness striking again.

"It's scary and I don't want that to happen to anybody else's kids," Boden said.

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