The parents of a four-year-old Iowa girl who nearly died are using their very, very miserable personal experience to warn other caregivers not to skip out on their obligation(s) to get their children a flu vaccination shot before every flu season.
In addition to almost dying, that four-year-old, Jade DeLucia, is now blind and may remain so for the rest of her life. Doctors won't be able to know that for sure for another six months. This unfortunate medical news came about as a result of DeLucia developing encephalopathy, which is a disease that caused swelling of the brain that led to her vision loss. Encephalopathy is a rare disease (and that may even be an understatement) that occurs in only 1 in 5 million people.
Reports say that DeLucia contracted the flu just a few days before Christmas, and that her illness progressed to the point that she had to spend more than two weeks in the ICU at a University of Iowa Children's Hospital. She ended up being discharged from that hospital on January 9 after first being admitted there on Christmas Eve.
She had not received a flu shot this season.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that dozens of children die from the flu every year, and that a majority of those that die from it haven't had a flu shot. They further add that thousands more are hospitalized.
Jade's mother, Amanda Phillips, says that she had taken Jade and her sister to get their flu shot back in March 2019. She says that she thought that would be good for the entire year, and that she wasn't aware her daughters had to be vaccinated once more for the 2019-20 flu season.
This is necessary on account of the fact that the flu virus changes annually, and therefore the vaccines also change. Important to note is that those new vaccines become available after each summer, and that the CDC says that you should get yours by the end of October to be properly vaccinated over the winter.
This flu season has reportedly been tougher on children than many flu seasons past. NBC 2 states that the reason is that the predominant virus for this season has been influenza B, which is more prone to attacking children than adults. As a result, 32 kids across the U.S. have died from the flu during this season, with 21 of those deaths being attributed to the influenza B strain.
At this same time last year there were half as many pediatric flu deaths.
The CDC adds that the flu vaccine is about 40-60 percent effective at stopping the flu.