Flu concerns in DC region after two families lose children

5-year-old Lochlin DeSantis and 16-year-old Katie Giovanniello both died from the flu.

Two local families are grieving after suffering the unimaginable -- losing a child to the flu.

In Frederick, Maryland a 5-year-old boy died last month and in northern Virginia a 16-year-old girl died last week.

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Children's National Hospital Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Sarah Combs, joined us with what parents need to know if their child is experiencing flu symptoms.

Combs said over 1000 positive case of the flu have been diagnosed at Children's National. 247 patients have been hospitalized and 83 have been admitted to the ICU.


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What are the emergency warning signs of flu?

People experiencing these warning signs should obtain medical care right away.

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • Fever above 104°F
  • In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions


These lists are not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.