Mother-of-two Heather Holland, 38, (left) and Aaron Masterson, 12, (right) were killed by the flu on Sunday
A mother-of-two, 38, died from complications stemming from the flu after deciding the medication to treat the virus was too expensive.
Heather Holland, of Weatherford, Texas, fell ill last Monday and was diagnosed with the flu on Wednesday.
In order to treat her ailment, doctors prescribed her Tamiflu, an antiviral medication widely used during flu season.
However, the second grade teacher thought it ‘cost too much’ according to her husband Frank, who eventually bought his wife the medication on Thursday when her symptoms did not ease up.
‘Friday night, things escalated and she ended up in the ICU,’ Holland told the online publication weatherforddemocrat.com.
‘The doctors got the blood cultures back and they had to put her on dialysis early Saturday.’
By then, Heather’s body had gone into septic shock and died the following day, leaving behind her husband, a 10-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son.
Heather Holland, 38, fell ill with the flu last Monday and got prescribed Tamiflu (pictured) on Wednesday but declined taking it because ‘it cost too much’ her husband said
‘I have to be strong for the kids but it’s still surreal, it hasn’t all set in,’ Holland said. ‘We’ve been together a long time, over half my life. She’s my best friend, my soulmate, my everything.
‘It hasn’t set in with them yet either,’ Holland said of his children.
Holland described his late wife as a passionate educator who devoted her entire life to aiding her small Texas the community.
‘She loved helping people, helping the kids, and the kids loved her,’ Holland said.
HOW CAN THE FLU BE DEADLY?
Flu often leaves sufferers feeling sick and riddled with a constant cough and runny nose. However, in extreme cases it can be deadly.
It poses the biggest risks to the elderly, young children, pregnant women and those with a compromised immune system.
Asthma, diabetes and heart disease patients also face an increased risk of death from the usually harmless virus.
But the flu, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 37 children and 85 adults in the US, can cause potentially fatal complications, for adults of any age.
It can lead to pneumonia and also trigger sepsis – an infection that sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs.
Charlotte LaGrone, a spokesperson for the Weatherford Independent School District, said Monday that it was still coping with Holland’s sudden death.
‘Today is a difficult day at that campus, and we are working our processes to care for students, parents and staff,’ La Grone said in a statement said.
Counselors at Bose Ikard Elementary, where Holland taught for the past several years, also said they will be offering their services throughout the week to assist students, staff and parents.
To assuage fears among parents and faculty, Weatherford ISD said that it has taken precautions to insure the health and safety of their students.
‘Our campus custodians have been deep-cleaning our schools since December, and the campus where the teacher worked underwent another deep cleaning on Friday, Feb. 2,’ a written statement from the district said.
‘We continue to remind students and parents of healthy habits during the cold and flu season.’
This flu season is on track to becoming one of the worst in recent history, according to the CDC.
On the same day as Holland’s death, Aaron Masterson, 12, was declared brain dead and taken off of life support after cystic fibrosis made his flu diagnosis deadly.
Aaron, from Huntsville, Alabama, also suffered from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that damages the lungs and restricts the ability to breathe, making his flu diagnosis even worse.
Aaron died that night, making him one of more than 53 children to be killed by the flu this season, while Heather is one of the 20 reported deaths in the Dallas Fort Worth area this record-breaking flu season.
Aaron, from Huntsville, Alabama, also suffered from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that damages the lungs and restricts the ability to breathe, making his flu diagnosis even worse
The dominant H3N2 strain, dubbed the ‘Aussie flu’, has been wreaking havoc this year and the flu vaccine is only 34 percent effective against this particular strain.
However, CDC officials are urging everyone to get their flu shot and say it is not too late as the vaccine is even more effective against the H1N1 and B viruses, which killed Aaron.
This year’s flu is set to becoming one of the worst in recent history and already has the highest rate of hospitalizations than any other year.
On Friday, Dr Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC’s Influenza Division, said that this is an unusual pattern for the flu as health officials expected activity to have already reached its peak at this time – but it continues to get worse.
The virus is widespread in 48 states, including Texas and Alabama, after Oregon dropped down to regional level to join Hawaii.
Health officials are warning everyone to take extra precaution to prevent the spread of the flu by washing your hands regularly and avoiding contact with everyone.
People can harbor the flu virus whether they look ill or not, therefore doctors urge everyone to be vigilant.
‘Supporting one’s immune system with good rest and adequate hydration may help reduce the severity of symptoms,’ Dr Brian Secemsky, an internist at One Medical in San Francisco, told Daily Mail Online.
‘Washing hands often, wearing masks, and staying home from work during periods of fever can help reduce the transmission of the virus,’ he added.