A DEVASTATED family has warned just how dangerous the flu can be, after their little girl passed away just days after catching the common virus.
Jasmyne Tillery-Kite, 9, passed away just days after falling ill with the flu when the virus affected her heart[/caption]
Now her family is hoping to raise awareness about how serious the flu can be in children as they mourn the death of little Jasmyne, with her dad urging other parents to ‘protect’ their kids.
Jasmyne, of Wilson, North Carolina, began feeling unwell on December 9 and was diagnosed with the flu just a few days later, Jasmyne’s aunt Tessa Grimstead shared in a GoFundMe posted a few days before the little girls death.
After that, her condition deteriorated quickly as she began to fall in and out of consciousness and ended up being rushed to hospital by ambulance.
There, medics discovered that the flu virus has made its way Jasmyne’s heart.
She was diagnosed with influenza myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle brought on by the flu.
Jasmyne was airlifted UNC Children’s Hospital early on December 14 and ended up going into cardiac arrest later that night – this is when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood, interrupting flow to the brain and other vital organs.
She was placed on life support after that and tragically passed away on December 17.
“We plan to keep her name uplifted by bringing more awareness [about the] flu,” he added.
The dad pleaded with other parents and families: “Love your babies, protect them when they get sick and be aware.”
Influenza myocarditis is rare and difficult to diagnose, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
It weakens the heart, preventing the body from getting enough blood and also can cause blood clots to form in the heart, triggering a heart attack.
Heart complications are the second most common cause of deaths related to the flu, the AHA went on, adding that viruses cause up to 70 per cent of myocarditis cases.
The British Heart Foundation said myocaridits can cause:
- Chest pain or discomfort, or a feeling of tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath when you’re resting or active, or in certain positions such as lying down
- Unusual tiredness
- Palpitations, which feel like your heart is fluttering, racing, or pounding
- An irregular heartbeat
- Feeling light-headed or fainting
- Flu-like symptoms such as high temperature, headaches, body aches, joint pain, or sore throat
- Rarely, swelling in hands, legs, ankles or feet
“Many of us do not take the flu seriously and do not understand the severity of the virus,” Jerome said in a separate Facebook post.
“It is not just the flu. We just wanted to bring awareness of this side of the flu.”
“Their immune systems are pretty young and they haven’t been exposed to most of those things,” he told the outlet, referring to respiratory illnesses like flu, Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus infections (RSV).
These bugs all cause cold-like symptoms initially – but parents should seek medical help for their tots if their breathing becomes abnormal or they seem more lethargic, the paediatrician said.
He outlined a few precautions families can take at this time of year to avoid getting ill.
“Social distancing, especially when you’re sick, works so you don’t expose people to those illnesses.
“We know that masks can help for sure and washing your hands really well.”
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said there had been nine acute respiratory incidents caused by the flu that same week.
Hospitalisations have also increased, although the agency said they’re still in the ‘low impact range’.
Most people then feel better within about a week, but social contact should be avoided while you are unwell as you can spread the virus from one day before your symptoms start until around seven days later.
It means if you fall ill after December 18, you may not be able to safely see relatives on Christmas Day.
Older people can be especially vulnerable to the virus.
In its annual report for the 2022 to 2023 flu season, the UKHSA said a higher than average number of people had succumbed to the flu, amounting to 14,500 deaths in England.
This was the highest number of flu deaths reported in five years, as cases of the illness peaked following the Covid pandemic.
Flu sufferers have warned this year that the bug
When should I be worried about flu symptoms?
If you have flu, you'll probably get a combination of the following symptoms quite suddenly:
- A sudden high temperature of 38C or above
- An aching body
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- A dry cough
- A sore throat
- A headache
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhoea or tummy pain
- Feeling sick and being sick
As for children, they might also get ear pain and appear less active, according to the NHS.
It urged you to get a GP appointment if:
- You’re worried about your baby’s or child’s symptoms
- You’re 65 or over
- You’re pregnant
- You have a long-term medical condition like diabetes or one that affects your heart, lungs, kidneys, brain or nerves
- You have a weakened immune system – for example, because of chemotherapy or HIV
- your symptoms do not improve after seven days
But you should find your nearest A&E if you or your little one have difficulty breathing, experienced sudden chest pain or start coughing up blood.