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PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – This past weekend, Dylan Winnick, 12, attended a birthday party, hung out with his family and went to the pool in his neighborhood, his family says.
He was struggling with what the family thought was a cold but, otherwise, seemed fine.
Then, according to his 16-year-old brother Sebastian Roa, by late Monday Dylan’s fever spiked and the his family gave him medicine to reduce the fever.
By Tuesday, he was complaining of his bones hurting.
Dylan stayed home from school on Tuesday and his father, Sergio, told reporters that his son appeared to be feeling better.
Sergio left the house and when he returned home, Dylan was dead.
Through an interpreter, he told reporters, “My message to all parents be careful with your kids. There’s a new flu out there and is no vaccine for it. There is nothing.”
Sebastian is devastated. He said he and Dylan spent the weekend doing brother things like riding bikes and throwing a football around.
“This is completely unreal,” Sebastian said. “Healthy 12-year-old boy just gone. No family should feel the pain that we’re going through right now.”
Mike Medwin is the partner of Dylan’s mother. He said the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner told Dylan’s father the findings of Dylan’s death.
“It was an aggressive form of the flu,” Medwin said.
Edwin said Dylan rarely got sick, had no underlying health issues, loved to play sports and displayed an intelligence and sense of humor well beyond his years.
He said the family heard about a deadly flu across the country but never expected it could hit them.
“You shrug your shoulders,” Medwin said. “No way. We’re healthy. The kids’ playing soccer. He’s strong.”
Sebastian said his mother is in unimaginable pain. On Facebook she wrote “Please stay on top of your babies. It may look like a regular cold. I refuse to let any parent go “through” what I’m going through.”
“It’s something that she can’t grasp either,” Roa said. “Something that she grieves about it but at the same time we want to get awareness out there. We don’t want him to die in vain.”
Doctors say they’re seeing a staggering amount of flu cases and that the flu often seems like a cold at the outset but it’s more than that.
“You’ll also have a headache and the symptoms tend to come on more suddenly and where both can give you a fever, the fever tends to be much higher — so maybe able 101, 102 or so,” said Dr. Aileen Marty.
Doctors say the key is to get to a doctor within 48 hours of the first symptoms to get a medication like Tamiflu.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for Dylan’s funeral expenses.
The family wants to also use that fund to help pay for medical expenses for those who can’t afford it.
They want everyone to be aware that the flu can deadly and that they should take precautions.
“If you feel you have a sickness, you have a cold, you have a flu, whatever it is. If your child has it, whatever it is, get medical attention because this can happen to anyone,” Sebastian said.