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Risk to all ages: 100 kids die of flu each year

January 15, 2013 • National News


This undated photo provided by the family shows Max Schwolert. The 6-foot-4, 17-year-old Texas high school senior grew sick in Wisconsin while visiting his grandparents for the holidays. Max felt fluish on Christmas Eve, seemed better the next morning but grew worse that night. The family decided to postpone the drive home and took him to a local hospital. He was transferred to a medical center in St. Paul, Minn., where he died on Dec. 29, 2012. Twenty flu-related deaths have been reported in kids so far this winter, one of the worst tolls this early in the year since the government started keeping track in 2004. (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — How bad is this flu season, exactly? Look to the children.

Twenty flu-related deaths have been reported in kids so far this winter, one of the worst tolls this early in the year since the government started keeping track in 2004.

But while such a tally is tragic, that does not mean this year will turn out to be unusually bad. Roughly 100 children die in an average flu season, and it’s not yet clear the nation will reach that total.

The deaths this year have included a 6-year-old girl in Maine, a 15-year Michigan student who loved robotics, and 6-foot-4 Texas high school senior Max Schwolert, who grew sick in Wisconsin while visiting his grandparents for the holidays.

“He was kind of a gentle giant” whose death has had a huge impact on his hometown of Flower Mound, said Phil Schwolert, the Texas boy’s uncle.

Health officials only started tracking pediatric flu deaths nine years ago, after Login to read more

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