The Department of Public Health warns that pediatric flu-associated deaths are climbing this season.

According to the El Paso Department of Public Health more than 700 cases of influenza have been reported so far this season, double the number of cases this time last year, with the majority of cases being children between one and nine years old.

Health officials are encouraging parents and guardians to ensure that their children are vaccinated to prevent illness and possible death. Especially since this year, there is a type B strain of the flu that can affect anyone, especially children and young adults more than the elderly, which is why many health officials are concerned for the safety of children during this particular flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive the flu vaccine every year. The Department of Public Health’s Immunization Program offers low-cost vaccines for children who meet the state guidelines via their three clinics. Appointments can be made by calling 915-212-6555.

Prevention is also key in avoiding getting the flu by washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if sick.

For more information on flu prevention and flu vaccines, visit EPHealth.com.