As Haverhill mourns the death of a Golden Hill 6-year-old from flu-related complications, city officials are doing what they can to keep the community healthy.
A free flu shot clinic will be held Wednesday afternoon at the Citizen’s Center, 10 Welcome St., from 3 to 6 p.m., for uninsured city children ages 1 and up and uninsured adults.
Residents with Mass Health are also eligible to receive a vaccination at no cost.
“I urge everyone to get their child or children immunized,” Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said. “Our public health professionals recommend that children and the elderly should get the flu shot as the best way to prevent serious medical complications that can result from influenza virus.”
Community Health Coordinator Mary Connolly will administer vaccinations throughout the rest of this week by appointment. Residents may book appointments by calling 978-374-2390 x15.
This week’s tragic passing of a city student marks the state’s first pediatric flu-related death of 2018, the Department of Public Health confirmed.
With widespread flu activity reported in 49 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say a vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza. Those already stricken with the flu are encouraged to take antiviral drugs to shorten the duration of symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Common symptoms of the flu include fever, cough and sore throat. Body aches are also frequently reported. Some people, including young children, may have diarrhea and vomiting.
Small, everyday actions can help avoid infection. The CDC recommends washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand rub is effective in the absence of soap and water. Those who become sick are asked to limit contact with others as much as possible to limit the spread of germs.
Connolly applauded the efforts of city officials in keeping residents healthy, telling WHAV that Golden Hill elementary has been sanitized, as has the bus the ill child rode in.