Local High School Student Dies After Falling Ill with Flu - KCTV5 News

School: No connection between student, parent flu deaths

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Joshua Michael Polehna Joshua Michael Polehna
Lake Fenton High School Lake Fenton High School

A local high school student has died of flu-like symptoms.

The student was a ninth-grader at Lake Fenton High School and was recently hospitalized.

The student, whom TV5 can identify as 15-year-old Joshua Michael Polehna, passed away over the weekend. The teen's death comes just a week after a parent in the Lake Fenton School District fell ill and died under similar circumstances.

Parents have been urged to keep their children home if they show signs of the flu. Right now the district says they know of no connection between the parent and Polehna's death.

Meanwhile, a vigil will be held for Joshua Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Sharp Funeral Home in Fenton.  Visitation for Polehna will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sharp Funeral Homes in Fenton and his funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Fenton.  

>>Read the letter Lake Fenton Community Schools sent home to parents on the flu incident<<

The Michigan Department of Public Health sent out an alert last week warning of an increase in patients being seen in doctors' offices and emergency rooms with flu-like symptoms. Health officials say three other children in Michigan have died this season from flu-like symptoms.

Karen Hoover, a registered nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in Saginaw, offers this advice: "One of the things about influenza is you can spread that to other people before you even know you're ill. So getting vaccinated is one of the key things you can do."

In addition to getting the flu shot, health officials say ways to avoid getting the flu is by washing your hands frequently, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, cough into the crook of your elbow rather than into your hands, and disinfect surfaces that are commonly used by multiple people – such as computer keyboards, phones, and television remotes.

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