North Carolina girl dies days after flu diagnosis

Two parents from North Carolina are heartbroken after their 6-year-old girl died just days after being diagnosed with the flu.

Emily Muth died three days after she was diagnosed with the virus last Tuesday, WTVD reported. At first, Emily's parents said she had a runny nose, a cough, and a slight fever. Then suddenly the young girl was gone.

"Devastated. How could that even happen? I mean one day she’s fine, you know, and I mean she had the fever and she was a little achy," Emily's mother Rhonda Muth told WTVD. "Other than that, I mean, she had a runny nose and cough like typical, you know, and then she’s gone. It’s horrible. I don’t wish this on anybody."


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Emily's mother rushed her to urgent care after she first started experiencing symptoms on Tuesday. There, Emily tested positive for the flu and was administered a Tamiflu prescription. By Thursday, her fever had even gotten much closer to normal than earlier in the week.

But on Friday, Emily's parents said her breathing became labored and they called for an ambulance.

Her mother said paramedics initially assured her that Emily's labored breathing was a typical flu symptom. But things changed shortly after her daughter stopped breathing.

SEE ALSO: Potentially deadly flu virus is widespread in 46 states

Emily's parents called 911 after they were unable to resuscitate her and paramedics quickly arrived and took over CPR. But, unfortunately, by the time they got Emily to the hospital, it was too late.

"You know you always think that. You know what I mean? If they had said, ‘Get to the hospital.’ What could have been done? The ambulance that was called that Friday morning, they saw her state."

Though the couple said they are not bitter about their daughter's death, they told the local station they'll be getting flu shots for their other children, after not doing the same for Emily. 

The family launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover Emily’s funeral expenses.

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Health officials recommend getting a yearly flu vaccine, and they urge everyone to protect themselves with one time-honored tactic: wash your hands, well and often. That may be the single best way to stop the disease in its tracks.

But in case you find yourself facing an encroaching onslaught of the illness though coworkers or school-age kids, This Old House has a few strategies to make life as hard as possible for the flu -- or any germs, for that matter -- to take root in your house.

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The sink, the telephone, children's toys, and doorknobs are popular landing sites for virus and bacteria. If someone is sick at home, disinfect daily, especially the remote control and the phone. Charles Gerba, microbiologist and author of The Germ Freak's Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu, says remote controls and countertops can be the germiest locale in the whole house. "What's the first thing you do after you call in sick? Pick up the remote control," he says. "Sixty percent of them contain influenza virus in the home of a sick person."

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According to Gerba, the home office is another place to watch out for germs. "Desktops have 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat," he says. Gerba says to disinfect your desktop weekly, along with the rest of the house. This could reduce your exposure to colds and flu by as much as 50 percent.

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Your kitchen sponge should be replaced every couple of weeks. If that runs counter to your frugal ways, you can microwave it for one minute or run it in the dishwasher to eliminate germs.

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Beware of dust rags, dishrags, mops and other cleaning tools. Unless sanitized between uses, they only spread around the germs you are trying to kill. "It's a free ride for the virus," says Gerba. Some of the cleanest houses he's tested had the highest germ counts. And get this: a few untidy bachelor pads tested very low for germs, which he attributes to lazy housekeeping. "They don't move anything around, everything is in the sink or the garbage."

But you don't have to descend into bachelor habits to defeat contagion. Gerba advises heavy reliance on paper towels. If you don't want to stockpile disposable towels, wash and dry cleaning tools at high temperatures so your house is clean and germ-free.

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The most benefit you can get from technology comes from air cleaners. Modern filters mostly catch larger particles such as bacteria, pollen, mold spores, but any virus traveling on a larger host can get caught by the filter. "It's not a see all, fix all. It will reduce, but not eliminate exposure," says Burroughs.

There's one caveat, though: The system must be working 24/7 to be effective. "It only works if the fan is blowing," says Burroughs. When properly used, a system like Honeywell's Electronic Air cleaner captures 99 percent of the larger particles, and some of the smaller particles, too. And that's one good way to keep the flu virus from spreading in your home.

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