School officials warn parents after Central Illinois boy dies from flu, pneumonia battle

Local News

GLASFORD, Ill. (WMBD) — A deadly case of the flu, and now a warning for parents.

A Central Illinois boy died from the virus and school officials are now urging parents to watch for symptoms.

Joey Sandhaas came down with the flu and died less than a month later. The high school student, who lived in Chatham, was sent to the hospital when his flu turned into pneumonia.

Director of Public Health in Sangamon County Cary Cheffy says flu cases are spiking this year.

“There is definitely an uptick in flu activity this year, compared with recent years. We are seeing more hospitalizations and more fatalities this year,” said Cheffy.

She says that while some get over symptoms quickly, others are more vulnerable.

“Influenza can be more dangerous for the very young and the very old, or for people who have underlying medical conditions,” said Cheffy.

Superintendent of Illini Bluffs, Dr. Roger Alvey, says the district is prepared.

“I don’t really consider it a stressful time, it’s something that we deal with every year. I know, in talking with one of my custodians, he spent a good portion of Christmas break doing deep cleaning in all of our classrooms at the elementary level,” said Dr. Alvey.

Flu activity is rated high in both Peoria and Tazewell counties.

According to Tazewell County Health Department officials, in the second week of January, at least 900 people were tested. Alvey says any symptom can be worrisome but a fever should keep your kids home.

“Our policy is generally if you have a fever of 100 degrees or more, you need to stay home for at least 24 hours,” said Alvey.

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