Flu deaths on the rise with pediatric deaths this week

WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – This flu season has been more deadly than last year, with the death toll standing at 232 now, 36 more than last year’s, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).

This week, 3 more children lost their lives to the flu, bringing the total pediatric death total to 10.

Parents tell us they are more mindful of school illness protocols.

Katheryn Faulkner, a parent of a Pitt County Schools student said, “I do feel like post covid the policies are much more strict than they were before.”

Joshua Breazeale has three kids – each in elementary, middle, and high school in Pitt County.

He says although having a sick child at home can become an inconvenience to the parents, it is safer to keep them home.

“It’s just better for everybody if your child is sick for them to stay home for the amount of time they need to until they can safely go back to school and not get others around them sick where they have to miss class time as well,” Breazeale said.

Pitt County Schools allows students to return to school once they are fever-free for at least 24 hours and does not require a doctor’s note to return to school following a short-term illness.

Monica Conner has two daughters and says she monitors her children’s behavior closely when they appear sick – and that a fever is the biggest red flag against going to school.

When her kids recently had the flu this school year, it was rougher than usual.

“Just their whole body hurt and that kind of thing, and I had not heard them express that. They are older and they can tell me what’s going on easier than when they were younger, but the whole bone pain was very evident this year.”

Among the flu deaths reported by the state are the deaths of two young adults, between the ages of 18 to 24 for the first time this year.