Flu-related deaths seem to be piling up, and news of a 21-year-old bodybuilder who died of flu complications just days after he started feeling ill seem unreal.
This is shaping up as the worst flu season in a good while, with California particularly affected, but other regions nationwide have registered severe flu cases as well.
Young Bodybuilder Dies Of Flu Complications
Kyler Baughman from Pennsylvania was a healthy young man leading an active lifestyle, going to the gym frequently, and studying to become a personal trainer. He started feeling slightly ill on Dec. 23, experiencing a mild cough and a runny nose, but nobody anticipated just how bad things would get.
"He looked rundown and had a bit of a snotty nose," says his mother, Beverly Baughman.
He spent Christmas celebrating with his family and returned to work on Tuesday, Dec. 26, trying to ignore the flu symptoms. He was not feeling well, however, so he got back home early. Olivia Marcanio, Kyler's fiancée, says that he laid down to rest, complaining of chest pain from a cough.
"I think he thought, 'I just got the flu, I'll be alright. I'll go rest a little bit,'" adds his mother.
Flu Complications Develop Rapidly
Within just a couple of days, however, Kyler started feeling worse, spiking a fever on and off. His state rapidly deteriorated and he was rushed to an emergency room in Westmoreland County on Wednesday, Dec. 27. He was then rushed to Pittsburgh's UPMC Presbyterian hospital, where he died less than 24 hours later.
According to his mother, he died of flu complications. The flu caused a septic shock, which in turn, led to organ failure that claimed his life just five days after he started feeling ill. His family says that he did not get a flu shot.
"It doesn't seem real," his mother says.
Don't Ignore Flu Symptoms
Following the unexpected death of their son, the Baughmans are urging everybody to take flu symptoms more seriously and get treatment as soon as possible. His mother adds that Kyler probably ignored his flu thinking that it would just go away on its own. She says that many people make this mistake, but they should "pay more attention to their bodies" instead of ignoring the symptoms when they get sick.
This flu season has been especially tough, with ERs packed nationwide, and many pharmacies running out of flu medicines. The epidemic keeps spreading at a rapid pace, making more victims each day.
To help reduce the spread of flu viruses, the CDC advises people to cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing, wash their hands frequently, and stay home if they're feeling sick. People who suspect they have the flu should seek medical assistance within 48 hours of when they started feeling ill as the treatment is most effective within this timeframe.