It's no secret that this flu season is one of the deadliest the nation has seen in a long time. At the start of the month, it was reported that there have been 11, 965 laboratory-confirmed flu-related hospitalizations between October 2017 and January 2018. It's even more alarming when you realize that the total number of people infected with influenza is much higher because not everyone visits a doctor.
Although this season's strain, Influenza A (H3N2), more frequently affects children and the elderly, it unfortunately doesn't discriminate against others. So far it has killed people from all walks of life, including young children and healthy adults.
"Sadly, we hear every year of people that were previously healthy and active and they get influenza and die and for reasons we don’t understand," epidemiologist Lynnette Brammer from the CDC's Domestic Influenza Surveillance Team told Fox News. "[But] if you get sick and you're not getting better...call your doctor."
15-year-old Precious Angel Hernandez Cantu has just become one of flu's latest victims.
The teen from San Antonio, Texas, started showing signs of the flu, including fever, chills, aches, and exhaustion. Her parents immediately took her to a doctor, and she was diagnosed with Type B influenza. Since there is really no cure, Precious was prescribed Tamiflu to shorten the course of the virus.
Upon returning home, the youth began to complain about experiencing pain in her neck and chest. Since she had no other underlying health conditions, her parents knew that she had to be taken to a hospital right away.
Hours later, her mother and father received the devastating news that no parent ever wants to hear: their daughter died.
Now, Precious's father, Steveo, has an important message he wants other parents to hear.
According to Steveo, Precious "went into organ failure and had to go on life sustaining measures," but that wasn't enough to keep her alive.
The family held out hope that their oldest daughter would return home, but Steveo explained that everything went downhill very quickly. "Something shot up in the machine. The emergency response team came in and I never talked to my daughter again."
"I was the first person to hold her. I was the last person to hold her," he said as he recalled the day of Precious was born. "My little girl was tough. She was fearless. She loved to draw. She was very good at it. She was destined for a lot of good stuff," he added.
According to officials, it will take at least a week to fully determine the actual cause of Precious's death.
Steveo is now sharing his daughter's story in hopes that other parents will learn from his family's tragedy.
"Flu is something to take very seriously. I never thought it would happen to me, to my little girl. If their kids have fevers and getting some symptoms, just take them (to the doctor or hospital.) Even if you think it's nothing," he said.
He also made a very important plight to everyone else: "Please, if you have symptoms, if you're sick, please stay home. Please don't pass it to nobody else. Some kids are not as strong as you," he said.
Steveo is also raising funds via GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the unexpected funeral they're forced to plan.
"We are asking for help from family and friends to help lay our baby girl to rest," wrote the grieving father. "This is sudden and unexpected. We never in our worst nightmares imagined that we would be having to lay our baby girl to rest and therefore we did not plan on being in this situation. No amount is too little and we would not be reaching out if our little girl did not need help in finding her resting space."
If you'd like to make a donation, visit the GoFundMe page here.
[H/T: KSAT 12]