The flu season is still underway and it has claimed yet another young life.
This time, a 27-year-old fitness instructor’s sudden death was revealed to have been caused by the influenza A (H1N1) virus.
Jeremy Joseph Westerman, a 27-year-old fitness instructor, graduated with a Business degree but chose to work at a 24-hour fitness because he wanted to help people achieve their health goals and live healthy lives. According to his father, Marty Westerman, it was Jeremy’s way of giving back.
Shortly before the New Year, Jeremy fell ill and woke up the next day with high fever but refused to go to the hospital, thinking that he would be able to simply take over-the-counter medication and rest it off. However, on Jan. 2, he no longer woke up.
This week, the medical examiner released the autopsy results, which revealed that Jeremy’s death was caused by the influenza A(H1N1). Evidently, he also had an adrenal insufficiency that made him more vulnerable to the illness.
An obituary for Jeremy remembers him as a young man who was driven by a passion to help people lead healthy lives. According to Jeremy’s father, he was in good health and that he worked out all the time. Because of it, he finds his son’s death due to the flu terrifying. Still, even in his passing, Jeremy’s father believes that his son was able to maximize the 27 years of his life.
“And I thank the lord for allowing me to have 27 years with this kid,” said Marty Westerman to local news.
In 2009, the Influenza A (H1N1) reemerged in the human population after years of circulating among animals. It caused a pandemic status in the same year, causing over 200,000 deaths worldwide. In 2012, there were over 300 human cases of the swine flu in the United States.
The current flu season has been described by authorities as the worst in about 15 years. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention has reported this flu season as being as bad as the 2009 pandemic.
So far, flu cases are still on the rise and even experts are not sure if the flu season has reached its peak. As it stands, there have been a total of 63 pediatric deaths to date, with the H3N2 strain especially prevalent among children.
There is no saying how long the flu season will persist, but getting vaccinated and simply washing the hands to prevent the spread of disease are some of the small steps that the public can do to combat the threat of illness.