NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – A 10-year-old boy and a 40-year-old mom are the latest deaths related to this year’s very active flu season.
The Centers for Disease Control said widespread flu activity has been reported in every state except Hawaii.
“You just don’t think that a healthy 40-year-old woman is gonna die from the flu,” said Walt Oxley.
That’s exactly what happened to his daughter Katie Oxley Thomas. He said the California mother of three was in excellent health – she practiced yoga and ran three marathons.
“She was just in the peak of her life,” he said.
Oxley said his daughter visited the hospital twice in two days, both times diagnosed with the flu and sent home to rest. She was admitted to intensive care just days later and died within hours.
“The flu had gone to pneumonia that had gone to septic shock,” said Oxley. “It consumed her so quickly, it was, it’s still hard to grasp.”
Thomas was one of 42 people in California under the age of 65 who have died from the flu this season. Nationwide, 26 states are reporting “high” influenza-like illness activity, according to the CDC.
“Unfortunately, this year’s influenza season is proving particularly difficult,” said CDC deputy director Dr. Anne Schuchat.
Over the weekend, 10-year-old Nico Mallozzi was traveling with his hockey team in western New York when he was diagnosed with the flu. He died on his way back home to Connecticut.
At least 22 children have been reportedly killed by the flu this season. The CDC’s Daniel Jernigan believes that number is likely much higher.
“These deaths are likely under-reported – sometimes maybe half of what’s actually out there or even a third of what’s out there,” he said.
The best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot. If you haven’t already, it’s not too late.
If you suspect you already have the flu, see a doctor. They can prescribe anti-viral medications which can help reduce the severity of the flu.
The dominant flu strain circulating this year is flu A virus H3n2, but health officials say flu B activity is also now increasing.