The heartbroken mother of the latest flu victim is desperately urging parents to be aware of life-threatening sepsis after the complication killed her 12-year-old son.
Dylan Day, from Stoke-on-Trent, passed away after developing the blood infection, which was triggered by a strain of influenza B, last weekend.
Writing on Twitter, his mother Sarah Day said: ‘My son died two weeks ago from flu b and sepsis. Please help me to help others. Read about Dylan. If you are ill and no better just ask “could it be sepsis”.
‘How can my boy die in a horrific way. Please share SEPSIS Kills. #dylansarmy. My brave boy. Love Dylan’s Mum xxx’
Tributes have flooded in for the keen footballer, with family and friends describe him as a ‘brave, loving and polite’ young boy who will be ‘greatly missed’.
Ms. Day announced his death in a poignant Facebook post, revealing he had ‘really suffered’ before he died on January 20.
His death comes as the latest Government figures reveal the death toll in the UK has reached 191, but officials warn the killer outbreak has peaked.
Mrs. Day revealed her son ‘was never stable’ and that it was ‘a battle all the way’ before his eventual death at a hospital in Liverpool.
Writing on a tribute page, the ‘helpless, desperate mummy’ declared: ‘Dylan really suffered, my brave beautiful boy.
‘My poor boy. He was so kind, he never moaned, he was quiet and kind and he loved life! Why Dylan?’
Mrs. Day said she and her husband had lost a little ‘footy man’ and pleaded for her boy so that she could kiss him and hold him one last time.
‘My Dylan was a true gentleman too,’ another gut-wrenching appeal added. ‘I miss him and love him so much.’
Revealing Dylan’s brother and sister had been badly affected by his death, a third post added: ‘Help his little brother who needs some hope. Help my family grieve.’
‘He loved football and this has rubbed off on his younger brother, his footy team and Dylan’s footy team are broken-hearted.’
To donate to Dylan’s just giving page please click here.
Deaths across the UK
Figures released today revealed 155 deaths have been recorded in England, 25 in Scotland and 11 in Northern Ireland. No precise data exists for Wales.
England is now showing ‘statistically significant’ excess deaths for the first time this winter. Scotland and Northern Ireland are already breaching this quota.
However, Wales appears to be being hit by flu cases the hardest, with the nation on the brink of announcing an epidemic, according to Government statistics.
How can 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.
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.
Sepsis: The facts
The ‘silent killer’ is the leading cause of avoidable death, killing at least 44,000 a year, and the Daily Mail has long campaigned for more awareness.
If caught early, the infection can be controlled by antibiotics before the body goes into overdrive – ultimately leading to death within a matter of minutes.
A Facebook page has been created since Dylan passed away on Saturday, January 20. It has so far amassed 1,350 ‘likes’ in just 24 hours.
You also read more about Sepsis by visiting the Sepsis Trust here.
Dozens of users of the social media network have penned touching tributes to the schoolboy on the page and on a separate fundraising site.
Karen Porter wrote: ‘Many treasured memories of this young man… he hasn’t changed a bit. Still that cheeky smile.
‘A quiet but confident kind lad. A lovely kind family. No words can explain how you are feeling. Take all the love and care is given to you at this time.’
Photos from his childhood have been posted on the ‘In memory of our beloved son Dylan Day’ page and have received hundreds of ‘likes’.
The JustGiving campaign has so far raised £9,500 in three days. It is hoped that the family will raise £15,000 in total for a gift to ‘cherish his memory’.
The post read: ‘Raising funds for the family of this beautiful boy Dylan, who lost his short battle with flu and associated illness last weekend, aged 12.
‘There is so much love in the community for this devastated family, it would be lovely to give them a gift to use to cherish his memory and treat his siblings.’‘
The family said the response and support they have had so far is ‘overwhelming’, and have praised ‘Dylan’s army’ for their kind tributes and donations.
Thousands have been hospitalized by flu across the home nations, as four strains of the killer virus attack the population, including the ‘Aussie’ and ‘Japanese’ strains.
The latter is believed to be responsible for nearly half the hospitalizations recorded, while the dreaded H3N2 strain that rocked Australia caused a sixth of them.
Running low on the vaccine
The new figures come after a third of GP practices were revealed to have run out of flu vaccines or be running low – despite repeated urges for at-risk patients to get their free jab.
Richard Pebody, acting head of the respiratory diseases department at Public Health England, today announced that flu is ‘starting to peak’.
He said: ‘We are currently seeing a mix of flu types, including the A(H3N2) strain that circulated last winter in the UK and then in Australia and flu B.
‘It’s important to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading flu and other cause of coughs and colds.’
‘Not out of the woods yet’
However, Professor Simon de Lusignan, medical director of the Royal College of GP’s Research and Surveillance Centre, issued a caution.
He said: ‘We are certainly not out of the woods yet this flu season as the influenza virus is incredibly unpredictable.
‘It is quite possible that rates will rise again, although they may continue to level out or even decline.’
The outbreak is piling extra pressure on an over-stretched NHS with conditions the worst some doctors claim to have seen.
Officials have warned this winter’s flu outbreak is the ‘most significant’ in seven years – but graphs suggest it has peaked and is slowing down.
Patients considered at-risk, the elderly, young children and pregnant women, have repeatedly been urged to ensure they are vaccinated.
But new data today, obtained from a survey of 400 doctors, shows GP practices – where the jab is free to those at-risk free – are starting to run out.
The Pulse magazine poll comes just two weeks after an investigation revealed some high street pharmacies were also running out of the vaccines.
How many people suffering from flu-like symptoms in the UK?
Figures from PHE and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimate 15.1 percent of people have been left suffering flu-like illness in the past week.
This equates to around nine million people in the UK, considering the population of the four home nations is around 65 million – but is a slight drop from last week.
The dominating B strain
Public Health England data shows so far this season the B strains are dominating, which experts have blamed on an ineffective flu vaccine that GPs were urged to purchase before the season began.
Leaked files released last week showed that NHS England asked doctors to purchase the trivalent jab – which offers no protection against the B Yamagata strain, referred to as ‘Japanese flu’.
This winter’s outbreak appears to be at least three times more severe than that of 2015/16 – when just 1,140 cases were confirmed during week three.
During that winter, Government figures suggested the winter flu played a role in more than 16,000 deaths. Only 577 were recorded in the previous winter.
Blamed for 55,000 canceled operations
Health bosses blamed the rapidly escalating cases of flu for their controversial decision to cancel 55,000 operations at the beginning of January.
The same move was also made by French officials as the European country also battled an epidemic of ‘exceptional magnitude’.
Nearly 12,000 people having been left hospitalized in France and more than 30 dead, figures earlier this month revealed.
Flu is also ‘actively circulating’ in Ireland, with at least 24 people known to have lost their lives to the killer virus so far in this winter’s outbreak.
And in the US, flu has gripped every state except Hawaii, according to the most recent data released by the CDC.
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