Flu season: doctors worry about the seriousness of the virus, with reported deaths and outbreaks


(Darron Cummings / AP file)

Children were the first to get sick. Thanksgiving pbaded with sore throats, chills and fevers. At the end of the long weekend, the adults who had gathered for the festive family meal in Phoenix also felt flu symptoms.

"We were all together for Thanksgiving, and the children got sick, then the adults got sick." "Stephanie Gonzalez told CBS News," He traveled through our family. Everyone overcame it. Everyone was fine. "

All but Alani" Joie "Murrieta

Alani Joie Murrieta (GoFundMe)

Feeling sick, the mother of two left work on November 26 and then went to the emergency room The next day … Doctors prescribed Tamiflu and rested, but none worked.

The next day was worse, I was coughing uncontrollably, first mucus, then blood.

"She seemed worried. She told her mother that she was having trouble breathing, "Gonzalez told the network.

Her flu had given way to pneumonia, she had trouble breathing, then fell into unconsciousness, on Tuesday, two days later Murrieta began to feel sick, she was dead.

It was a tragedy that quickly moved her family and an anecdote that induces anxiety for anyone who has felt a tingling in her throat and wondered when it will be too early to do so. go to the doctor.

The experts' answers are simple: the flu is deadly and should be treated with healthy respect.

"I'm afraid [Murrieta’s] the story is totally consistent with the severe flu with a young adult. "said William Schaffner, a physician and infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Schaffner has not personally examined Murrieta or his records.

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He and his colleagues say that the flu season began earlier this year, and the dominant strain of the virus that has emerged is the H3N2. That is the same strain that exploded throughout the world during the last flu season and wreaked havoc in Australia during the winter months of the southern hemisphere.

According to the CDC, more than 6,000 people tested positive for influenza so far this year, more than double the number of people infected at this time last year.

"The H3N2 strain tends to be a more serious disease, particularly among the elderly and people with underlying diseases," said Schaffner. "But it can affect any child or adult and literally get seriously ill within 48 hours, to the point where they have to be in the hospital, in intensive care, this can happen and it happens."

For people who suddenly feel stressed by a sudden high temperature or dry cough, there is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent influenza: annual vaccines.

Schaffner, a self-proclaimed proselytizer from The Gospel Against the Flu, told The Washington Post that flu vaccines can reduce the chance of infection by half. For vaccinated people who end up with the flu, the symptoms are usually milder. Finally, receiving the vaccine decreases the chances of a person infecting other people, including vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly.

According to Samantha Schmidt of The Post, a recent study showed that vaccines significantly reduced a child's chance of dying from the flu.

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"Each year, CDC receives reports of children who died from the flu, and this study tells us that we can prevent more of these deaths by vaccinating more," said Brendan Flannery, PhD. , lead author and epidemiologist of the Influenza Division, in a statement from the CDC.

Murrieta was not vaccinated against the flu, his family told CBS News, but doctors say there is no way to know if it would have been a difference for the 20-year-old.

For now, your family has started a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $ 18,000 from its $ 20,000 goal by Tuesday. They plan to use it to cover funeral expenses and provide for their two children: the oldest is 2 years old, the youngest is 6 months old.

"Our family is devastated that it's gone," the page said. "… Alani left behind so many people who loved her."

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