Elizabeth Spencer first began exhibiting symptoms of a flu, like headaches, cold, aching joints. It has been symptoms her mom Natalia has seen before. So she did not think much of it, assuming that, with enough rest, the symptoms would go away on their own.
The next day Elizabeth collapsed. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors put her in an induced coma.
READ: A perfectly healthy five-year-old was killed by deadly flu
Eighteen days later, she passed away.
“The virus Elizabeth had contracted triggered an extremely rare auto immune condition, which sent her body into overdrive to fight off the original virus,” reports said. “The condition, Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, caused her body to go into septic shock, shutting down her major organs and cutting off the blood supply to her limbs.”
Sepsis & septic shock
Septic shock is a serious medical condition that occurs when sepsis, which is a body-wide inflammatory response to infection, leads to dangerously low blood pressure.
It can cause multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (formerly known as multiple organ failure) and death.
Its most common victims are children, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly, as their immune systems cannot deal with infection as effectively as those of healthy adults.
READ: They thought he had a flu, but what he had was deadlier than that
Despite the doctors’ best efforts, Elizabeth succumbed to her illness.
“I couldn’t believe it to begin with,” Natalia said. “In the morning I thought she had a flu and in the evening I was told she probably wouldn’t make it. “It’s devastating for a mother to see a child like that. It was 18 of the most heart-breaking days. Her immune system killed her.”
When to take flu seriously
How do you know when to seek emergency care for the flu? There are several signs that you need to see your doctor immediately.
- Difficulty breathing
- lasting high fever that does not come down with medications
- skin color that appears bluish or gray dehydration – signs in children include decreased energy, decreased amount of urine in diapers, or lack of tears when crying
- pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- sudden dizziness
- mental confusion
- severe or persistent vomiting
- babies seem listless or lethargic, irritable, or don’t want to eat
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