A South Jersey mother of two is dead after coming down with the flu, her family tells NBC10.
Nicole Born, 40 of Voorhees, Burlington County, died Sunday at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia of cardiac arrest after suffering complications from being infected with Influenza A.
Her father, Gary Born, said Nicole was a devoted mother, former college athlete, business manager and was otherwise healthy.
"She was just a dynamic, just a dynamic person. Full of energy, full of life," he said. "The smile that radiated from her face just lit up the room."
Nicole's children, a 7-year-old and 3-year-old, began to get sick on Christmas Eve. After caring for the kids, she became ill by New Year's, her father said.
She went to the emergency room in New Jersey and by the time she was seen by a doctor, her blood oxygen levels were extremely low, the family said. She was admitted into the intensive care unit and eventually transferred to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Despite doctors efforts, only a few days after seeking medical care, the virus had claimed her life.
"We're looking for words. There is no words," Gary Born said.
Influenza is a respiratory illness. Its symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, coughing and a sore throat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The most common type of the virus is Influenza A.
The virus is currently widespread across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, state health officials said. A forecast by Columbia University predicts the current outbreak to be at its worst in that area this week.
Influenza, which can progress into more serious illnesses like pneumonia, kills an average of 24,000 Americans each flu season, according to the CDC. Doctors say it's important to get a flu shot as influenza is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death.
It's still possible to get the flu after getting the shot, especially this year, after its effectiveness was questioned. But doctors say the vaccine can still lessen the virus' severity.
Nicole did not get the vaccine before getting sick. Her family is now vaccinated and advising others to do the same.
"If you're feeling ill, if you're sick don't wait. Don't become a statistic like my daughter," Gary Born said.