Alivia Viellieux, 3, from Muncie, Indiana, is one of the latest fatalities of the worst flu season. The toddler never had a flu shot.
The toddler who was tested positive for Influenza A was found lifeless by her parents on Monday morning. She passed away in her sleep.
The deceased child's grandmother, Tameka Stettler, said the family decided not to vaccinate Alivia for flu this season and that decision would have them second guessing for the rest of their lives.
"Alivia did not have it because they had told us once the flu is going around, it's not going to matter if you got it or not. We just decided not to put those chemicals in the girl's body if it's not gonna help," says Stettler.
Now, as they are preparing for Alivia's funeral instead of her fourth birthday that is supposedly due next month, the family is wondering if a flu shot could have helped save the kid.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly advised on the importance of getting a flu shot to lessen the risks of hospitalization.
High Fever And Sudden Death
The toddler was rushed to the Ball Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, Feb. 6, due to high fever and flu-like symptoms. Alivia's temperature rose to 106 degrees.
She was admitted to the hospital and the doctors put her on intravenous support and gave her medication. After a couple of days, her condition seemed to have improved. Stettler said Alivia was able to drink on her own.
The kid was sent home on Thursday. By Sunday, her condition quickly changed and the following morning, she was dead. Alivia's family is shocked and devastated with the toddler's sudden death.
"She was eating cheerios last night. She was walking last night. How does that just happen?" Stettler said.
Delaware county coroner confirmed that Alivia died from pneumonia, a fatal complication of flu.
Pneumonia And Influenza
Dr. Michael Burt of Ball Memorial said pneumonia is the side effect or complication of influenza that doctors worry about most.
Among the symptoms of pneumonia in children include high fever, sweating or chills, flushed skin, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and bluish lips or nail beds.
Alivia's death is one of the many tragic faces of the brutal flu season that is continuously claiming more lives across the country.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics mortality surveillance data, as of Feb. 8, more than 10 percent of the deaths recorded in third week of 2018 were due to pneumonia and influenza. The said percentage is above the epidemic threshold of 7.3 percent for that week.
The Indiana state Department of Health said 77 percent of residents who tested for flu were positive and the state-wide death toll is at 167 since October 2017. Three school-wide outbreaks and 92 long-term care facility outbreaks were documented.
More than 40,000 people have died from flu and pneumonia and other complications since the start of the brutal flu season and with the current mortality rate, the number could even surpass the 56,000 death toll recorded during the 2014-2015 flu season.
A total of 63 pediatric deaths were recorded by the CDC.