Mother issues warning after teenager nearly died from having flu
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While flu just means an unpleasant few days in bed for most younger folks, one teen almost died after catching the virus.
Jack Hollingsworth, 19, was rushed to hospital after he became seriously unwell after he contracted flu.
Mum Claire knew something was wrong when Jack's temperature spiked and his heart rate rapidly increased.
Claire, from Llangristiolus in Anglesey, Wales, thought her son might have had Covid, but the test came back negative.
With Jack's condition deteriorating, Claire rushed Jack to the local Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Emergency Department on 15 December.
There, Jack was taken into intensive care where doctors put him into a coma.
Claire said: "Jack had been unwell for a few days, we all thought it was a bad cold or even Covid.
"The Covid test came back negative and towards the end of the week he became more unwell, he had a very high temperature and a very fast heart rate.
"I couldn’t wait any longer, I’m an ex nurse so I knew my son wasn’t very well and I felt there was a risk that we could lose him.
“I drove Jack in my car to the department and ran inside to get some help.
“The receptionist could see how frantic I was and immediately alerted the clinical staff who rushed him straight into Resus.
“It was apparent that Jack was extremely sick as the team decided he needed ventilating straight away."
Test results found that Jack had the flu, which had developed into pneumonia.
Dr Terry Collingwood, critical care consultant, said: “When Jack arrived with us in the Intensive Care Unit his condition was life-threatening.
“He needed complex medical support to survive the initial 48 hours.
“During that time we received advice and guidance from the Specialist Respiratory Failure service at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester on how best to manage Jack’s condition, for which we were extremely grateful.”
A massive breakthrough in Jack's recovery came on Christmas Eve, as he was brought out of the coma.
Claire added: “During the 10 days Jack was in a coma there were times we thought we were going to lose him.
“Jack is super fit, having just completed an advanced diploma in outdoor activities, but he demonstrated how a young person can become suddenly overwhelmed by influenza once they reach a point that their immune system burns out.
“It was a reminder of how dangerous flu can be, even for those who are young and fit and we would continue to encourage anyone who is eligible to get their flu jab after seeing what it nearly did to our son."
In the UK, the flu jab is only available for free on the NHS for people aged 50 or over, though people under that age bracket can be protected at a small cost.
Jack was thankfully able to go home on Boxing Day.
Since then, he has gone back to the hospital to thank staff for saving his life.
Jack said: "It was great to come back and see the staff who cared for me, as I was in a coma I don’t remember what any of them looked like so it was lovely to meet them and thank them personally.
"I will be forever grateful to them for saving my life."