A Quebec family is in mourning after a three-year-old girl died from the flu.
Charlotte Latham of Gatineau, Que. began feeling unwell when she arrived home from daycare on Monday, Jan. 14.
The next morning she developed a fever, and was kept home to rest. After giving her ibuprofen, her mother Susan Bouchard says she became alarmed as the day progressed and the fever crept higher and higher. Charlotte began shaking and was immediately taken to a local hospital and emergency transferred to Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal.
After three days in hospital, Charlotte died.
Now Bouchard is speaking out in an effort to warn parents of the potentially fatal risks of the flu, and encourage them to get the flu shot; something she wishes she had done for Charlotte.
“It can happen to anyone,” Bouchard told reporters. “Check on the overall state of your child… Cherish every moment that we spend with our kids.”
Bouchard shared a moving tribute to her daughter on Facebook writing, “A little ray of sunshine went out on January 17th, 2019. My sweetie, you were an exceptional person. You were only three but you changed the lives of many people. You loved everyone and the room lit up with your presence.”
Charlotte’s death comes as a warning for parents to heed the advice of Canadian health officials and protect themselves and their families with the flu vaccine.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the number of children admitted to hospital this flu season has doubled since this time last year, and is nearly three times as high as it was in 2016-2017. The recent strain has also sent more children to intensive care than in previous years as well.
Health Canada’s most recent FluWatch report states that as of Jan. 12, 2019, seven children have died from the flu, all under the age of 10. It also reveals this flu season has led to 603 pediatric hospitalizations and 98 ICU admissions.
The flu can quickly turn deadly. As the virus attacks the respiratory system, it can lead to inflammation, making it more difficult for oxygen to reach blood vessels. The flu lead to respiratory failure as well as trigger infection such as sepsis where the rest of the body becomes inflamed with the potential risk of organ failure.
A weakened immune system due to the flu can also allow secondary infections to enter the body leading to pneumonia.
Although the flu shot may not protect you 100 per cent from developing the flu, it can mean that your symptoms will be less severe.
In the wake of her loss, Bouchard says she will ensure her young son receives his flu shot as soon as possible.