JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- In just two days, sweet little Ryan went from healthy to heart failure, all right in front of his mother.
"It was just the most tragic thing I've ever had to see in my life. I've seen my mom and my grandfather die in front of me, but to watch my child die in front of me is a whole another. You know," Amanda Arthur explained.
Arthur says she knew something was wrong when her 4-year-old son lost his appetite. Shortly after came the coughs, the mucus, and a low-grade fever.
"We brought him to Wolfson's and they sent him home. They gave him a breathing treatment and sent us home. And he just got progressively worse. He was throwing up," she continued.
According to the CDC and the Duval County Health Department, Ryan ultimately died from the flu. He was the first pediatric flu death in Duval County this season.
Arthur chose not to get him vaccinated, because he made it through last flu season just fine. But doctors say he actually falls into a risky category.
"The most vulnerable are those who are very young, very old, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, underlying conditions," said Dr. Mobeen Rathore at Wolfson's Hospital.
Arthur says Ryan had a heart murmur, but otherwise was energetic and happy like any other child his age. Now, she encourages everyone to take precautions and treat influenza like the deadly virus it can be.
"I'm not saying walk around with a can of Lysol, but just be really aware of people that are around you, washing your hands and being diligent that you're taken care of," she said.
The CDC estimates that the flu kills about 23,000 people in the United States every year.