NC mom dies a day after flu symptoms begin, family says

BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) – There have been at least two reported flu deaths this flu season in the lower Cape Fear area.

RELATED: 21 new flu deaths in NC; 67 total for the season

According to Amanda Hutcheson, spokesperson for Brunswick County, there has been one reported flu death countywide.

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In Pender County, the Shepard family has to bury their loved one earlier than expected after they say doctors diagnosed a family member with the flu.

Elouise Shepard in a WECT photo.

“Seemed like everything was all right but later on in that day, she just passed,” said Joseph Shepard, whose mother, Elouise, died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center Friday.

“To me, that was real quick. I was just expecting them to say the flu, keep her a couple days, and then she would come back home,” he added.

Shepard said his mother’s flu-like symptoms started Thursday. Elouise was admitted to the hospital after she vomited and complained of stomach pains. Shepard said doctors diagnosed her with the flu and she died a day later.

MORE NEWS: Mother of 2 dies from flu complications

“It’s kind of scary when people get the flu and 24 or 48 hours later they are dead,” Shepard said.

According to Shepard, his mother got a flu vaccine and took precautions to stay healthy year-round.

“Wasn’t much more we could have done,” he said. “We did everything. We took all the precautions. It still happened. That was it.”

Despite a feeling of helplessness towards his loved one’s death, Shepard has a message for anyone who may ignore the symptoms or refuse the flu vaccine.

“Do everything you do normally to take precautions against the flu, and I guess hope for the best.”

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