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Posted: January 11, 2018

Flu kills Massachusetts mother of 2 as outbreak affects majority of U.S.


By Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

NEEDHAM, Mass.  —

A well-known Massachusetts mother of two who thought she had a simple cold is dead after a bout of the flu turned fatal last week.

Jenny Ching, 51, of Needham, went to a hospital when her symptoms grew worse, The Needham Times reported. Doctors there diagnosed the flu.

The flu quickly turned to pneumonia, and she developed a severe bacterial infection. Ching died Friday, two days after being admitted to the hospital, the Times said. 

She leaves behind her husband, Matt Ching, and their two young sons. 

Ching was a beloved hostess at a Needham Chinese restaurant, and the restaurant’s patrons were among the mourners at her memorial service Wednesday. 

“Such an outpouring of support for the Jenny Ching family tonight,” Tom Keating posted to Facebook on Wednesday night. “The lines of people at the Eaton Funeral Home (were) literally around the corner.”

The owner of Ray’s New Garden, the Chinese restaurant where Ching worked for 28 years, also mourned her death on the establishment’s Facebook page

“Jenny always had a smile on her face and was one of the kindest people to touch so many lives,” the post read. “Please keep Jenny and her family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

A GoFundMe page established to help her family with expenses described Ching as a beautiful woman with a huge heart.

“She would do anything for anyone,” the page read. “If she wasn’t greeting you with a big smile at the New Garden restaurant where she worked, she was stopping you on the street to find out how you’re doing. She was a wonderful mom, and will be truly missed by everyone who knew her.”

>> Read more trending news

Ching’s obituary read that she would be remembered for her smile, her kindness and her devotion to her family.

“Most importantly, Jenny will be remembered for her boundless love for her two sons, David and Dennis, of whom she was so proud,” the obituary read

Her family asked that, instead of flowers, mourners contribute to an education fund for Ching’s sons. 

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the current flu season is a dangerous one, spreading quickly across the country. Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan told ABC News on Wednesday that the season, which began earlier than usual this year, is reaching near-epidemic levels.

Part of the problem is that this year’s most prevalent flu strain is H3N2, or Influenza A. That strain is particularly severe and harder to contain than other strains of the virus. 

“Whenever (H3N2) shows up, it causes lots of disease, lots of hospitalizations, lots of cases and lots of deaths,” Jernigan told ABC News

This year’s flu strain has been particularly hard on younger patients. 

Kyler Baughman, 21, of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, died Dec. 28 of complications of the flu. The bodybuilder succumbed to organ failure brought on by flu-related septic shock, his family said.

In Ohio, Jonah Rieben, 4, died Saturday of complications of the flu. An 18-month-old boy from the Toledo area also died of the flu Monday. 


Related

Influenza surveillance map: Where is the flu in my state? 

Health officials are saying the flu season is shaping up to be a particularly severe one, with the number of cases reported at nearly four times the number of influenza cases at the same time last year. 

"This is a bad bug," Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Influenza Division, said. "What we're seeing this year, the influenza season started earlier and seems to be peaking right about now. That's about a month earlier than it normally would be peaking," he said, "so lots of cases are happening, in lots of states, all at the same time.” 

H3N2 is the strain of flu that has been seen most this season, and it has proven to be a deadly strain. At least 60 children have died from the flu this year.

 

"In years when there is H3N2, we do see that there are more deaths,” Jernigan said.

The CDC tracks information about the spread of the flu using data sent from state health departments to create and maintain an “influenza surveillance map.” The map shows the number of flu cases reported to each state’s health department and where the flu is hitting the hardest. 

Below are the links to each state’s health department, where localized information about influenza can be found. Click on the website and look for a listing called “Surveillance Reports,” or “Surveillance Maps,” then look for the week’s report to give you the latest information.

Click here for more information on this year’s flu, and here for information for parents about children and the flu.  

  1. Alabama 
  2. Alaska 
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas 
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut 
  8. Delaware
  9. District of Columbia 
  10. Florida
  11. Georgia 
  12. Hawaii 
  13. Idaho
  14. Illinois 
  15. Indiana
  16. Iowa 
  17. Kansas 
  18. Kentucky 
  19. Louisiana
  20. Maine
  21. Maryland
  22. Massachusetts
  23. Michigan 
  24. Minnesota 
  25. Mississippi
  26. Missouri 
  27. Montana 
  28. Nebraska
  29. Nevada 
  30. New Hampshire
  31. New Jersey
  32. New Mexico 
  33. New York 
  34. North Carolina 
  35. North Dakota
  36. Ohio 
  37. Oklahoma 
  38. Oregon 
  39. Pennsylvania 
  40. Rhode Island
  41. South Carolina 
  42. South Dakota 
  43. Tennessee 
  44. Texas 
  45. Utah
  46. Vermont 
  47. Virginia 
  48. Washington 
  49. West Virginia 
  50. Wisconsin
  51. Wyoming 
What is the flu? 17 things to know about flu symptoms, flu shot side effects and more

Bryan Erdy/News | WHBQ

What is the flu? 17 things to know about flu symptoms, flu shot side effects and more

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States experiences flu epidemics every year. 

>> Read more trending news

Since 2010, the CDC estimates the flu has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses.

>> RELATED: Your child needs a flu shot sooner than you think, according to new report

Here’s what you should know about the flu, the flu shot and more from experts in the field.

What exactly is flu?

According to the CDC, the flu is “a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.”

Influenza viruses directly infect the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and can even be fatal.

How does the influenza virus start?

Influenza actually originates among birds and other animals in Southeast Asia and then spreads to Europe and, lastly, the U.S., William Schaffner, chair of Vanderbilt Medical School’s department of preventative medicine, told ABC News.

How does the virus spread among humans?

Humans spread the virus we have in our throats to others when we touch each other, especially noses and mouths, Schaffner said.

Why are we so susceptible to the virus?

It’s because the virus comes in different forms, and several forms, every year, according to Schaffner.

>> RELATED: Man, daughter die on same day from flu complications

Flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter, though seasonal flu viruses can be found year-round in the U.S.

According to the CDC, virus activity often increases in October and peaks between December and February. It can last through May.

What are the symptoms of flu?

Someone who is exposed to the flu virus may begin to experience the following symptoms about one to four days after exposure.

From the CDC:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills -- Note that not everyone will experience a fever.
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Some may experience vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

How long is someone contagious after contracting the flu?

An infected person may be able to infect other people and spread the illness one day before they even begin to experience symptoms.

According to the CDC, the period of contagiousness can continue between 5-7 days after becoming ill.

The period of contagiousness could last even longer for those with weakened immune systems, especially young children.

Who is most at risk of getting the flu?

According to the World Health Organization, pregnant women, older people, young children and people with certain chronic health conditions -- such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease -- are most at risk.

What does the flu vaccine do?

The seasonal vaccine protects against the form of the virus scientists are predicting will be most comon during the upcoming flu season.

According to CDC experts, the traditional three-component flu vaccine protects against three flu viruses: H1N1, H3N2 -- both influenza A viruses -- and an influenza B virus.

The quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against those three plus an additional influenza B virus.

>> RELATED: This patch could change the way we fight the flu

Who should get a flu shot?

CDC experts recommend everyone six months old or older receive a flu shot every year.

What about the nasal spray flu vaccine?

The CDC does not recommend the nasal spray flu vaccine during the 2017-2018 flu season. Injectable influenza vaccines are recommended instead.

>> RELATED: Get your flu shots, US urges amid concerns about bad season

Can people with egg allergies receive the flu shot?

Yes. CDC experts recommend those with severe egg allergies be vaccinated in a medical setting with a health care provider present.

Should pregnant women receive the flu vaccine?

Yes. Experts recommend pregnant women get the shot during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect both themselves and their babies.

Will you get the flu from the flu shot?

No, the vaccine cannot cause flu, according to the CDC.

What are the side effects of a flu shot?

Common mild side effects may include soreness or swelling, headaches, nausea, muscle aches and fever.

The injection, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting.

When is the best time to get the flu shot?

It takes about two weeks after getting the shot for the vaccine to protect against influenza.

That’s why the CDC recommends people get vaccinated by the end of October, before the flu season starts to get bad.

If October has passed, however, it is still beneficial to get vaccinated, even into January or later.

How much does a flu shot cost and where can I get one?

Under the Affordable Care Act, most people with insurance who go to a health care provider covered by their plan should receive the flu vaccine for free.

Pharmacy chains, universities and other corporations have started offering the vaccines either for free or at low costs.

Use the CDC’s Flu Vaccine Finder below to find a clinic near you. Just enter your ZIP code and hit “Go.”

Family warns of dangers after 21-year-old dies of flu complications

A seemingly healthy and active 21-year-old from Pennsylvania has died of complications from the flu

"He was into physical fitness. He was going to school to be a personal trainer,” Kyler Baughman's mother, Beverly Baughman, told WPXI.

>> Read more trending news

He was working, going to school and celebrating Christmas with his family. 

"We saw him the 23rd for our family Christmas get together and we noticed he wasn't feeling well. He looked run-down and had a bit of a snotty nose,” Beverly said.

He celebrated with family again Christmas night, and returned to work Tuesday, but came home early because he wasn't feeling well.

"He kinda just laid down and went about his day and that was the day he was coughing and said his chest hurt, he had a mild cough,” said Baughman's fiancée, Olivia Marcanio. 

Within two days, Baguhman's health took a turn. He was running a fever on and off. 

On Wednesday, he went to the emergency room, then was flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where he died less than 24 hours later. 

His mom said it was from complications from the flu. 

"Organ failure due to septic shock caused by influenza,” Beverly Baughman said. 

The Baughmans are now left grieving a sudden and most unexpected loss. 

They're hoping by sharing his story, it could help save someone else. 

"Try and know your body; don't let things go. Whenever you have a fever and you have it multiple days, don't let it go,” said Kyler’s father, Todd Baughman. “Get it taken care of.”

"I think he thought, ‘I just got the flu, I'll be all right, I'll go rest a little bit.’ He was always on the go. I just think he ignored it and thought it would go away like most people, and I think people need to pay more attention to their bodies," Beverly Baughman said.

  Mother of two dies just day after flu diagnosis
  ‘Man flu’ is real: Research says men experience worse symptoms
  Egg allergies? Now you can safely get a flu shot, experts say
  Researchers say new drug could end the flu as we know it
  Tips to prevent getting colds and flu, remedies
  How to tell if someone around you is sick using subtle cues

4-year-old boy dies in Ohio's first pediatric flu-related death of the season

A 4-year-old Ohio boy has died from the flu in Montgomery County.

The child, Jonah S. Rieben, of Clayton, was identified by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office Wednesday morning. The official cause and manner of his death have not been determined by the coroner’s office.

Rieben died on Jan. 6 after being admitted to Dayton Children’s Hospital. It is the first pediatric flu-related death in Ohio this year. Last flu season there were seven pediatric deaths in Ohio.

>> Read more trending news 

The Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday afternoon a 1-year-old boy from Lucas County also died from the flu, becoming the second pediatric flu-related death in the state. 

Jonah Rieben, who was born in Bulgaria, was adopted by the Rieben family in February 2017. He had 16 brothers and sisters. “A brave warrior who fought and overcame many difficult battles throughout his short life, Jonah inspired us all with his strength and resiliency,” an obituary stated. 

“It is a tragedy anytime a loved one is lost and we extend our condolences to the family and friends who are affected,” said Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Is the ‘man flu’ real? Scientists claim men experience worse flu symptoms

Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months or older get a flu shot as soon as possible. It’s still not too late to get vaccinated as the flu season extends until the end of spring. 

“No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu. Our hearts go out the family,” said Jon Woltmann with the infectious disease department at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “We encourage parents to get their children vaccinated to not only protect them, but children who are not able to get the vaccine due to underlying health conditions.”

 

School cancels classes after more than 160 students call out with flu

A Christian school in North Carolina was closed Thursday and Friday after officials said more than 160 students called out sick Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

A school administrator at Carmel Christian School in Matthews said the cancellation was the first in school history prompted by a flu-like outbreak. 

"That's horrible,” said Tammy Corsino, who lives nearby. “That’s a large amount of children.”

Administrators hope the long weekend will allow sick students extra time to recover and prevent healthy students from being exposed to the flu. Students are already off Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, so they won’t return to school until Tuesday.

“Safeness is the way to go when it comes down to kids,” said Albert Corsino, who lives nearby. “Wouldn't want that to spread more."

School officials are going to great lengths to disinfect the campus. They hired contractors to use a disinfecting misting machine that is often used in hospitals on Thursday to sanitize every hallway, bathroom and classroom, in addition to wiping down every surface.

“That is a good school, a good decision,” Tammy Corsino said.

Experts have said this flu season is the worst in years, with nearly double the amount of cases nationwide compared to last year.

Already, 20 people in North Carolina have died from the flu.

“Since we got the flu shot, I feel pretty safe,” Tammy Corsino said.

The state will release its updated flu report Thursday.

Tips to prevent getting colds and flu, remedies

Now is the right time for parents to take steps to protect young children from cold and flu viruses.

According to Dr. Hansa Bhargava, one of the nation’s top pediatricians, most colds and coughs go away by themselves because they are caused by viruses.

>> Read more trending stories  

Still, a healthy child may have a fever as an immune response because his immune system is fighting off the infection, she said.

“Personally, I try not to use a lot of over-the-counter drugs to treat my own children when they have colds, coughs and fever,” she said.

Bhargava offers the following tips to prevent young children from getting sick, some home remedies to try when they do and instances when you should call a doctor:

The two big weapons in keeping germs at bay are good hygiene and a flu vaccine.

  • Make regular hand-washing, especially before eating meals, routine.
  • Teach your child to sneeze or cough into a tissue or into his bent elbow instead of his hands. This will prevent him from spreading germs onto everything he touches.
  • Encourage good hygiene with sticker charts or rewards for such things as not putting their hands in their mouth.
  • Keep hand sanitizer within easy reach, but supervise younger children when using it. Older school-age kids can be given small bottles of hand sanitizer to carry with them in their backpacks.
  • If your child is over 6 months old, make sure they get a flu vaccine (kids ages 2 and older can start getting the nasal vaccine spray unless they have asthma or a very stuffy nose at the time of their doctor’s visit).

Remedies to help your child feel better

  • Get plenty of rest. Rest helps the body focus on getting well, so keep kids home from school.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Replenish liquids lost from fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Fluids also help loosen mucus.
  • Use a humidifier to keep the air in your child’s room moist which can help break up nasal and chest congestion.
  • Talk to your pediatrician about giving OTC cold and cough medicines. These medicines should not be given to children under 4.

For fever:

  • Sponge baths - using lukewarm water with a sponge. You can do this for 20-30 minutes to lower the body temperature and help your child feel better.

For colds:

  • Running the shower and then letting your child inhale the steam from it can help clear nasal congestion. For infants, using saline drops with an aspirator bulb a couple of times a day can help the baby breathe.

For coughs:

  • Use thick dark honey in kids who are over the age of 1. The thickness of the honey often calms the cough and is more effective than cough medicine in many cases.

For sore throats:

  • This is when the rules about sugar go out the window. Popsicles, ice cream and anything that is cold feels really good to children with sore throats. You can also freeze 100 percent juice and make your own popsicles.

Call a doctor if your child experiences these symptoms

  • Excessive trouble breathing
  • An earache
  • A fever greater than 101 degrees that lasts longer than 72 hours
  • A persistent cough
  • Vomiting, by itself, or after coughing
  • Swelling of the sinuses or tonsils

Researchers say new drug could end the flu as we know it

A study last year shed light on a new drug that researchers were hoping might end the flu as we know it.

University of Washington researchers co-authored the study that was published in  the journal PLOS Pathogens.

>> Read more trending stories

The revolutionary new drug is called HB36.6. In lab studies it was a treatment for the flu, but more importantly, it seemed it could also prevent a victim from ever developing the flu.

The drug appeared to cover multiple strains of the flu. Scientists said the drug would be far more effective than Tamiflu, if the results of lab work on mice also applied to the human body. 

In the study, lab mice were given a single dose of HB36.6 via the nose. Two days later, they were injected with the 2009 strain of the H1N1 pandemic flu virus that killed more than a half million people in Asia.

The mice were completely protected and did not develop any flu symptoms.

Mice that were exposed to the H1N1 flu first were also protected with the new drug.

Researchers also found that a single dose of HB36.6 was more effective in mice than 10 doses of Tamiflu. 

Researchers believe the anti-flu drug could also work just as effectively in people with weakened immune systems.

Researchers, also at the University of Washington, now believe flu shots could be a thing of the past soon

>> Related: Universal vaccine could end annual flu shots and eventually work for other viruses, too

A new “universal” vaccine uses genetic material of the influenza virus – the part that doesn't mutate – and teaches the body to recognize it, researchers said.

The vaccine is given through “little micro injections into skin cells.”

It could mean the end of the annual flu shot, but is still five to 10 years in the future.

Man, daughter die on same day from flu complications

They were born on the same day, 41 years apart. Just days after contracting two different strains of the flu, a Wisconsin man and his grown daughter also died together. 

 

Herbert Ellis, 79, of Allenton, died first on March 2 after suffering severe complications from the flu, according to WISN in Milwaukee. Alina Ellis, 38, of West Bend, died a short time later, in a room down the hall from her father in St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee.

 

The deaths have left family and friends shocked and heartbroken. Alina Ellis’ sister, Carine Krull, told the news station that she was leaving for a trip to Mexico when her sister told her she felt unwell.

 

What began as the Type A flu was followed by strep throat, Krull said. The sisters’ elderly parents cared for Alina Ellis, but her health rapidly declined, and she was hospitalized after also developing pneumonia.

 

“She’s perfectly healthy, otherwise. No medical history, so this is scary,” Krull told WISN. “This means that this can happen to anybody.”

 

At the same time, Herbert Ellis developed the flu, but Type B, a different strain from the one that sickened his daughter. Krull rushed back from Mexico on March 2 to be with them.

 

I need every single prayer you can muster up. Both my sister (Alina Ellis) and my father (Herb Ellis) are in very very... Posted by Carine Krull on Thursday, March 2, 2017

 

Both died later that day, with Herbert Ellis dying from organ failure brought on by the flu. Alina Ellis died after also developing MRSA, an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. 

 

Though many of her organs could not be donated because of the extent of her illness, doctors were able to transplant Alina Ellis’ heart and kidneys into three people, her sister said.

 

A joint memorial service for father and daughter was held Saturday in West Bend.

 

The Ellis family is sharing their story in the hope that it will make people take the flu seriously. While Herb Ellis had obtained a flu shot because of his age, Alina Ellis had not been vaccinated this year. 

 

“This was absolutely unexpected,” Krull told the Washington County Insider. “When I talked to them (on Feb. 28), Alina had the flu and Dad had a cough. Two days later, they’re in heaven together. I’m just blown away.”

 

Both Herb and Alina Ellis were well known in the Washington County education community. Herb Ellis, who in his youth served as a U.S. Army chaplain, was a retired teacher in the Hartford, Wisconsin, school district, the Insider reported.

 

Alina Ellis, a nanny who went by the name Hoot Nanny, ran an in-home preschool, called the Hoot House, in West Bend.

 

The Hoot House is officially closed. Our beloved Hoot Nanny suddenly passed away March 2nd from complications from... Posted by Hoot House on Thursday, March 9, 2017

 

Krull said her sister and the program were beloved by parents and children alike.

 

There was an outpouring of love for the Hoot Nanny on social media, where parents and grandparents initially asked for prayers for the dedicated teacher’s recovery and later spoke about the impact she’d had on their children and grandchildren’s lives.

 

Please pray for our dear friend Alina!!! Posted by Carissa Rusch on Thursday, March 2, 2017

 

The world lost a truely AMAZING woman today. So honored to have known you. You  gave a new meaning to the word selfless.... Posted by Amanda Marie on Friday, March 3, 2017

 

Thank you Alina Ellis for the love you showed my little Granddaughter Merrit and the all the other children's lives you have touched. You will be missed. Posted by Lori Hassinger on Saturday, March 4, 2017

 

WISN reported that one of Alina Ellis’ legacies would be Owls for Owies, a program at her preschool that collected Beanie Boo owls and donated them to sick children in area hospitals. Mourners brought more than 300 of the stuffed owls to her memorial service.

 

This is my sister! She and the Hoot House kids are amazing. They donated all of these "Owls for Owies" to Froedtert. Sure to make the kids feel better! Posted by Carine Krull on Thursday, December 22, 2016

 

Krull said she plans to keep the program going in honor of her father and sister.  

 

“All I can do is try my best to pass along and encourage others to have compassion, love and caring,” Krull told the news station.

 

YouCaring page has been established to raise money to keep Owls for Owies going. As of Wednesday morning, the crowdfunding page had raised nearly $6,000 of its $10,000 goal. 

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