A Valley mother told FOX5 her son died in her arms three days after he was diagnosed with the flu.
“I don’t know what this flu did to him,” mother Brenda Occhipinti said. “He was perfectly fine [December] 28th, the 29th it took over him, and the 30th he passed away.”
Carlo Occhipinti Jr.’s symptoms started out as a sore throat, then it transitioned into body aches and vomiting, according to his parents.
Junior, 12, died two days before his 13th birthday.
“He was so excited to reach his teens,” Brenda said.
“He was a good older brother,” father Carlo Occhipinti said. “He always tried to help out, he always made us laugh.”
Junior was up to date on all his shots, according to his mother.
He also suffered from Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that effects the body’s connective tissue. Occhipinti said it is possible his condition affected his chances of fighting the flu, but that her son just had a checkup with his pediatrician who said he was in great shape.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” Brenda said.
The coroner’s office is still investigating the official cause of death, but the Occhipinti’s want to share their story with Valley parents.
"Trust your gut," Brenda said. "If you want to rush your child to the E.R. even for a runny nose, trust your gut."
“We’ve had a particularly bad flu season in Southern Nevada,” Director of Community Health at the Nevada Health District Dr. Michael Johnson said. “We’ve had 14 deaths due to flu this season.”
“The H3N2 virus is the predominant strain,” Johnson said. “It’s somewhat resistant to the vaccine.”
If you would like to keep your family safe from the flu, the Southern Nevada Health District said get vaccinated.
You can also stop the spread of germs by washing your hands and covering your mouth. Also, if you are sick, stay home from school and work.
If your fever or symptoms do not go away with over the counter medication, go to your doctor and ask for anti-viral medication.
Copyright 2018 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.