Influenza adds another child to its death toll as it took the life of a 6-year-old girl just hours after paramedics assured that her symptoms would go away in a week.
Emily Grace Muth from Cary, North Carolina began showing flu-like symptoms last Jan. 16. On the same day, she was taken by her parents to a local hospital where she was tested for the infectious disease.
After lab results confirmed that she was flu-positive, doctors prescribed Tamiflu. Her parents were also instructed to keep her hydrated.
Emily's Flu Progression And Misdiagnosis
A report narrates that Emily's fever persisted until Jan. 18, with temperatures constantly rising and fluctuating despite being much closer to normal than the past two days.
Her condition, unfortunately, turned worse the next day as her breathing became labored. By midday, her mother called in the paramedics who told her that Emily was simply experiencing a typical symptom of the flu.
"He asked us you know, 'We can take her.' And you know they're the medical personnel. I trust what they know. And they said she was fine," says Rhonda Muth.
Emily never got better. Within hours after the paramedics left, her condition escalated quickly. Her breathing got heavier and she would suddenly spring up from bed then lay back down.
After a while, her mother noticed that she wasn't breathing. Paramedics responded immediately after Rhonda called 911 for the second time. Since Emily was no longer responding to CPR, they tried rushing her to the hospital but it was already too late.
"Our hearts are aching and feels like we lost a part of us. There is nothing worse than losing a child. She was our everything," writes Rhonda in an online fundraiser for the expenses brought by her daughter's untimely death.
The Importance Of Annual Flu Vaccination
Although Tamiflu works in fighting flu symptoms such as fever, aches, chills, and fatigue, the medication is not a replacement for annual vaccination.
Emily did not receive her flu shot this year, but her parents will ensure that her two other siblings will be vaccinated. They are also encouraging others to have their children immunized against influenza.
As of Jan. 13, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 30 children in the U.S. have already died since the beginning of the flu season. The agency also counts North Carolina as among the states where influenza activity is reportedly widespread.
For the 2017 to 2018 season, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends yearly flu shots for everyone aged six months and above with inactivated or recombinant influenza vaccine. The nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used for such period.