A Michigan mother in mourning wants to warn other parents about the severity of this flu season, after losing her son to the virus in a matter of two days.
Jessica Decent-Doll told The Times Herald that her 12-year-old son, Michael Messenger, received the flu vaccine in late December. However, in the second week of January, he began showing symptoms of the virus anyway. Michael reportedly vomited during dinner on Jan. 9, prompting his parents to take him to an urgent care center.
Physicians looked Michael over and ran a rapid test for influenza. It came up negative, and his vitals reportedly came back normal as well. Doctors told Decent-Doll to keep an eye on her son, make sure he drank lots of fluids, and prescribed anti-nausea pills for the vomiting.
On the morning of Jan. 11, Michael’s father entered his bed room to find him lying on the floor, eyes wide open yet virtually unresponsive. He was just barely drawing breath. His father performed CPR until the paramedics arrived, transporting the child to St. John River District Hospital. Michael was pronounced dead about an hour and a half later.
“It’s indescribable, it really is,” Decent-Doll said of her son’s tragic passing. She and her family are still awaiting an autopsy to determine the exact cause of Michael’s death, but Decent-Doll is speaking out about this year’s influenza outbreak.
“Don’t wait, it’s all I can say,” Decent-Doll said. “This flu or whatever is going around this year is unbelievably dangerous.”
The CDC urges the American people to get the flu vaccine, but warns that it only reduces the chances of contracting the virus by 10% to 60%. Furthermore, they point out that the more people who get vaccinated, the lower the risk to the community as a whole.
This year, 30 children have already lost their lives to the flu, according to a report by People. The CDC has categorized the 2017 to 2018 flu season as “moderately severe,” with a warning that it could get worse.
Decent-Doll and her family put Michael to rest on Thursday, Jan. 18. Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page in their name, hoping to offset the costs of the funeral. So far, the campaign has raised nearly $12,000.