Source: Post-Courier Online
A 40-year-old Voorhees mother of two died in a hospital Sunday from complications of the flu and pneumonia.
Nicole A. Born had no chronic health conditions and was the “picture of health,” according to her father, Gary Born of Brigantine.
She is survived by her husband, Ken Wakeley, their 7-year-old daughter, Samantha, and 3-year-old son, Dylan. Their household came down with the flu around Christmas.
“It’s totally a nightmare,” Gary Born said. “Nicole, the mother she is, didn’t have time to take care of herself because everyone else was sick. She kept putting it off, putting it off.”
By the time she went to a hospital emergency room two days before her death, Born had trouble breathing and was hallucinating. Her blood-oxygen levels were so low doctors tried to oxygenate her blood using a machine, but they were unsuccessful.
Gary Born said his daughter tested positive for influenza A virus (H3N2), the most common flu virus circulating this season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the A strain is associated with higher rates of severe illness and death. Though this year’s seasonal flu vaccine does not match the A strain, doctors still recommend getting the vaccine because it can limit the severity of H3N2 and protect against other circulating strains.
On average, nearly 90 percent of flu-related deaths in the United States occur in people 65 and older, according to the CDC. The government does not track the number of flu-related deaths in adults, and flu mortality varies from season to season. Estimates for flu-associated deaths between 1976 and 2007 range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
“If people don’t start feeling better within four to five days, and certainly if fever continues beyond four days, they should get to a doctor quickly,” Fishman said.
That could indicate viral pneumonia. Also, if people feel better, then start feeling worse again, that could indicate the presence of bacterial pneumonia, which requires antibiotics.
Emergency signs for the flu include difficulty breathing, pain in the chest or abdomen, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms that improve and then return with a fever and worse cough.
Pneumonia can sometimes cause a dangerous condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome, when the lungs can no longer get enough oxygen into the blood…Nationally, the mortality rate ranges as high as 75 percent…For the past five or six years, doctors have been refining a procedure called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which uses an external machine to oxygenate the blood. “It’s a big procedure, and it is not very successful if you do it too late,” Fishman said. “The timing has to be right.”
April Martin of Williamstown was among her close college friends and described Born as fun-loving and feisty…”It’s just awful…How do you lose somebody at 40 to the flu? It doesn’t make sense.”