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4-year-old goes blind after getting the flu

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IOWA (CNN) — On Christmas Eve, a happy, healthy 4-year-old girl had to be life-flighted to a children’s hospital with the flu.

Jade Delecia had a strain of the flu called Influenza B. This type of flu is spreading quickly around the country and experts say the most vulnerable to it are children.

“I didn’t think I was going to see her again. At that point, I really didn’t,” Jade’s mother said.

In the pediatric intensive care unit, Jade was unresponsive, with a ventilator breathing for her.

“Influenza B is activating her own immune system, to start attacking her own organs, specifically the brain and causing brain swelling,” Dr. Aditya Badheka said.

For days, Jade’s mom and dad din’t know what the future would bring. Her doctors feared she might not make it.

“It just hurts and it it rips your heart out because you just want her to wake up,” Jade’s mother, Amanda Phillips said.

Jade woke up nearly two weeks later.

It felt like a miracle, until doctors noticed something off. Jade couldn’t see.

The flu caused inflammation in her brain, potentially blinding her forever.

Jade went home from the hospital Jan. 9.

Phillips got her daughters the flu shot in March of 2019. She didn’t realize flu shots weren’t good for an entire year.

Because the flu changes year to year, the vaccine also changes. Flu vaccines become available at the end of summer, and the CDC recommends getting one by the end of October to protect against the flu in the upcoming winter.

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