That comes as 10 of Maine's counties are experiencing "high" to "very high" severity of flu spread.
A woman wears a button after getting a flu shot at a Walgreens drug store in Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maine has recorded its first flu death of a child for the season.

The child who died had tested positive for influenza A, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which announced the death Thursday.

Additional details weren’t immediately released.

That comes as the flu is spreading rapidly among the population in Maine and the rest of the U.S. With flu season hitting hard and early, President Joe Biden plans to release doses of prescription flu medicine from the Strategic National Stockpile to ease the burden on hard-hit states.

The flu has been confirmed present in all 16 of Maine’s counties, with the severity of spread “high” to “very high” in 10 counties as of Dec. 17, according to the Maine CDC’s latest flu surveillance report. Four counties — Aroostook, Cumberland, Franklin and Oxford — are seeing “moderate” activity, while only Androscoggin and York are seeing “low” spread.

The rise of flu and other respiratory illnesses has led to schools across the state closing as absences due to illness surge.

Most people who contract the flu only become mildly ill, while those at elevated risk, such as Mainers over age 65, children, pregnant women and others with certain medical conditions, can experience serious illness or death, according to the Maine CDC.

Common symptoms include difficulty breathing, bluish lips or face, chest pain, dehydration, seizures and fever above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

The flu can be treated with antiviral medication and is most effective if started within two days of getting sick, according to the Maine CDC.

With the elevated risk widespread across the state, Mainers can reduce their risk by frequently washing their hands, covering their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, staying home when sick and getting vaccinated.