She was just 27 years of age, but that didn’t stop Katharine Gallagher from perishing as a result of the flu. The Tustin, California resident, who was apparently very healthy prior to her illness, contracted the flu virus last month and subsequently developed pneumonia.
Two days prior to her death, which occurred on the 5th of December of last year, Gallagher started to get a bit better—that’s what she told her boyfriend, anyway, when he left for work on the morning of her death. She had been suffering from chills, a backache, a fever, and stomach pains. However, she had been prescribed antibiotics by doctors and received IV fluids.
Tragically, when her boyfriend Brendan Carey returned to the home he shared with Gallagher at six PM on the 5th, he found his girlfriend dead. He then had to tell the young woman’s mother Liz—the person who had taken Gallagher to urgent care to seek treatment—that her daughter had died. She was Liz Gallagher’s only child, as well as the only child of her father Phil Gallagher.
Gallagher had contracted a particularly nasty strain of the influenza virus, which is called the “Aussie Flu”.
Carey, who described his late girlfriend as “bubbly” and “outgoing”, found Gallagher unconscious on the floor of their bathroom. Still warm, she was wedged between the toilet and the sink. CPR was administered and 911 was called, but there was nothing that could be done. By the time paramedics arrived, the young woman had been dead for two hours.
Earlier that day, Gallagher let a friend know via text that she thought she was having a panic attack due to the fact she was short of breath and dizzy.
It is worth pointing out that Gallagher did not get a flu shot this year. The young woman’s grieving mother, therefore, is urging people to get their flu shots as soon as possible. Her daughter, who was a graduate of Boston University, tried to simply sleep off the virus, which is not advisable in severe cases. Medical treatment is often needed. As Liz Gallagher put it, young people today think that they’re “invincible” and don’t want to spend money on doctors. Her daughter was reluctant to seek the medical attention she so desperately needed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges that it is not too late to get a flu shot, and suggests people do so to protect themselves from the influenza virus, which can obviously be fatal. The virus is most dangerous to infants and the elderly; however, what we’ve learned from this story is that the flu can be deadly to anyone who is unlucky enough to contract it. So far this year, 20 children and 85 adults have perished as the result of the flu. Complications of the illness include pneumonia—as was the case with Gallagher—and bacterial infection.
Symptoms of influenza include body aches, a headache, weakness, extreme fatigue, a runny nose, a sore throat, and a dry cough. Generally, adults don’t experience vomiting or diarrhea. Medical attention is absolutely necessary when there is trouble breathing, dizziness, or confusion. Severe vomiting, while not typical in adults, also requires medical attention. There may also be pressure in the belly or in the chest.
It is worth pointing out that a person may not be exhibiting symptoms of having influenza, but may indeed be contagious. Therefore, good hygiene is advised—wash your hands, people! Flu season may have started in the fall, but it won’t end until the spring, so be careful and get a flu shot.
Oh, and by the way, you can get the flu more than once a season. So if you’ve already had it, you should still get a flu shot.
California, where Gallagher lived, is actually one of the states in the US hardest hit by the flu this year. Flu patients are being treated in emergency tents in parking lots, and hospitals have been compared to war zones. Patients are also being treated in hallways. The hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed.
Gallagher obviously isn’t the only young person who has died this flu season. Another victim of the virus was Kyler Baughmen, who was only 21 years of age. He died on the 28th of December due to kidney failure caused by septic shock that was the result of the flu.
Another recent victim of the flu this season was Jenny Ching, who was 51 years of age at the time of her death. Despite making the wise choice to go to the hospital, the mother of two children died on January 6. As many victims of the flu do, she developed an infection and pneumonia. Sometimes there’s just nothing doctors can do.
In case we haven’t made this clear already, the flu virus is no laughing matter. Need we remind you of the 1918 flu pandemic that infected 500 million people around the world? Between 50 and 100 million people died; for that reason, it is rightfully considered one of the deadliest disasters in human history. As a result of the pandemic, the United States’ life expectancy dropped by more than a decade. Curiously, most of the people killed during the pandemic were healthy young adults—just like Gallagher happened to be.
That pandemic we were just talking about? It may have killed more people than the Black Death. Think about that unfortunate fact if you’re too afraid of needles or too darn busy to get a flu shot.
H/T – Source