Getting the flu is a pain in the butt, but you usually don't think of it as something that can be deadly unless you are pregnant, elderly, or immune-suppressed in some other way. Unfortunately, however, it can be deadly no matter who you are. A mom of three caught the flu and died four days later. The woman, who had been healthy until she caught the virus, was the wife of a soldier who served in Afghanistan. He thought once he made it home alive, the family was in the clear. And then this tragically happened.
Texas resident Alice Jones was only 29. She was the mom of three kids, ages 10, 7, and 3. Both she and her husband, Darrell, caught the flu last week. By the weekend, Darrel was feeling better but Alice continued to have symptoms. She bought some over-the-counter medication.
On Saturday when she wasn't better, she went to the emergency room and got more medication. But by Sunday, she was having trouble breathing. She went to a local clinic, where doctors discovered her blood pressure was low. She was rushed to the hospital.
There, she began having seizures. Doctors were unable to stabilize her and she passed away. A devastated Darrell told ABC News:
It was a big shock. I still can't really believe it.
It is unbelievable to think that a healthy 29-year-old woman could die of the flu.
It turns out neither Darrell nor Alice had had a flu shot -- though there is no guarantee that would have saved her life. Every year, people who get the shot still get the flu. But Darrell has come forward with their story to encourage others to get the vaccine.
Alice's case was unusual in that she had no health issues and she was an adult. The only other person to die in Texas this year of the flu who was considered healthy was a 13-year-old. But 15 others have died in the state this flu season, which runs from October to April, and peaks in January and February.
Here are some recommendations for warding off the flu:
- Get the flu vaccine. The H1N1 virus is still the most common.
- Take a daily multivitamin.
- Get enough sleep and regular exercise.
- Drink lots of water. Drink herbal teas, broth, and soup.
- Eat healthy.
- Make sure you are getting enough vitamin B6 and B12. B6 vitamins can be found in food like potatoes, turkey, beans, and spinach. B12 can be found in meat, dairy products, and fish. If you're a vegan, you can take a supplement or look for cereal or alternative milk sources (almond, soy) that are enriched.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Try to stay away from people who are sick. Wear a face mask if you need to. Don't be polite, walk away from strangers who are coughing or sneezing.
- Keep your hands away from your nose and mouth.
- There are also lots of natural ways to ward off the bug.
If you do end up getting the flu, don't be shy about getting to the hospital if you experience shortness of breath, ear or chest pain, cough that produces blood, symptoms that persist more than a few days or worsen over time, and go to your doctor to get an anti-viral medication as soon as symptoms develop.
What do you do to help prevent the flu?
Image via USACE Europe District/Flickr