Feb 3, 2014 11:44 PM by Erin Steuber
A Youngsville family is mourning the loss of their 14-year-old son who died of complications from the flu. The teen passed away two weekends ago while visiting his mother out of state.
"The doctors kept reiterating to us that he was very sick. We were like, the flu, how does the flu do this to a perfectly healthy kid?" said Russell Thibodeaux.
The family tells us Hunter Thibodeaux died of Type A Flu, which health officials say is most likely H1N1. The strain carries symptoms like body aches, coughing, congestion, fever and nausea. But according to the Department of Health and Hospitals, H1N1 carries a higher risk of fatalities among younger people. Now Hunter's family is hoping his death will encourage others to get a flu shot.
Just over a month until Hunter's 15th birthday his father, Russell Thibodeaux, sits only feet from his son's urn.
"Within 24 hours it went from a cough and a fever to full life support," said Russell.
The 14-year old was a freshmen at Comeaux High School who was visiting his mother in Arkansas when he became sick.
"He started coughing and stuff like that. Then she, his mom, took him to the hospital, got him checked out and they said it was bronchitis. They sent him home with a Z pack," said Russell.
Hunter's symptoms only got worse and landed him back in the hospital the very next day.
"Within 24 hours his chest filled up with fluid. They ended up having to air lift him to Le Boheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee," said Russell.
Hunter was ultimately diagnosed with the flu and pneumonia. On January 25th, after being on life support for 48 hours, Hunter was dead.
"I mean how does the flu do this to a perfectly healthy kid?," said Russell.
Hunter's father says his son never had the flu before and was extremely healthy so getting the flu shot was never a priority.
"It just seems senseless. I mean the simplest thing to do, something so simple," said Russell.
Doctors say the best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot. Even those that are extremely healthy should get the vaccine so the virus is not spread. Doctors say it is still possible to catch the virus, even after vaccination, but the severity of the flu will be diminished.