Dad Says Daughter Died Because She Didn’t Get a Flu Vaccine

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Moms I know are freaking out about the flu this year. With just cause too, as this flu season has been a doozy. People are dying, mayors are declaring states of emergency, and medical professionals are asking the public to please get vaccinated.

Children are especially susceptible to the flu virus -- 29 kiddos have already died this year from flu-related complications. One dad, Joe Lastinger, is particularly urging parents to vaccinate their children if they haven’t done so already. He knows what it’s like to skip it and regret it later.

In 2004, Lastinger’s 3-year-old daughter died just days after exhibiting flu-like symptoms. He shared his family’s tragic story on HuffPost Live on Wednesday, including the detail of when he heard his wife screaming that their little girl wasn’t breathing. They were scheduled to take her to the pediatrician for a repeat visit later that day.

The scariest part about this whole story is how Lastinger describes his sick daughter in the days before she died. She didn’t seem like she was on her deathbed; she seemed like any other under-the-weather little girl. She was listless, had a lack of appetite, and was content to lie on the couch and watch cartoons. This scene sounds familiar to any parent that has been one long enough to endure a cold, cough, or infection of some sort.

This “perfectly healthy” little girl died from complications brought on by the flu in a matter of days. She had an on-and-off fever, was throwing up a little, and keeping her parents awake at night. Then she died.

Many parents these days -- myself included -- are wary of giving their kids too many meds. I even put my kids on a delayed vaccination schedule, and seriously hemmed and hawed over getting them flu shots. Eventually, I decided to go ahead with it, because there’s a much greater chance of them dying from the flu than from vaccine-related complications.

After hearing this story and reading some of the statistics for pediatric flu-related deaths, I will gladly and happily get my kids vaccinated against the flu each year. It’s not a 100 percent safeguard, but it’s the best preventative measure we have available right now.

Have your kids been vaccinated for the flu?


Image via Daniel Paquet/Flickr

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