It all began one Friday afternoon when 6-year-old Mount Dora resident Riley Lajeunesse came home from school feeling tired and out of sorts. By Sunday, Riley’s mom, Crystal sensed the precocious first grader was just not right and took her to AdventHealth Centra Care where Riley tested positive for the flu. She was sent home to rest and recover from the virus.
At 3:30 am Tuesday morning, Crystal says she was awakened by her daughter wailing in pain. Riley explains, “I was feeling bad. As soon as my feet touched the floor, I noticed I had really bad pain.”
Crystal says, “The second we touched her calves, she’d jump up. I told my husband that we should go to AdventHealth Waterman.”
What they thought would be a quick discharge with some medication for Riley, instead became a week-long hospital stay. Riley was diagnosed with Myositis severe inflammation of the muscles.
“A lot of cases of the flu you'll see patients have muscle pain and that's typical, but there are some cases of muscle pain that can become out of proportion. With those patients we suspect that they may have an underlying myositis,” says Jaclyn Urquiola Sorzano, MD, an AdventHealth Waterman Pediatrician.
“Within an hour from the time the doctor told us what was going on we were upstairs, and they had her on fluids,” says Crystal.
Riley admits she enjoyed a few things about her hospital stay. “I liked that there was TV there for kids who get bored,” says Riley. “And the doctors and nurses were actually kind of fun. Two different doctors gave me two different popsicles.”
Riley even had a dance party which was part of the recovery process to get her moving. “We put on music and some nurses came by, and one of them would dance with her,” says Crystal.
Riley is feeling a lot better now and when she’s not at school, she enjoys spending time playing her cello, going to Walt Disney World and hanging out with her little sister.
“Throughout the whole process we were kept in the loop, they explained what was going on and how they we’re going to treat it, stated Crystal. “Our experience was great.”
Given what they have been through with Riley, who had not received a flu shot this year, Crystal Lejeunesse says the entire family will get vaccinated each year.
“The most important thing about being prepared for the flu season is not only recognizing the signs of the flu and when a child has complications but being prepared in the sense of getting your flu vaccine as soon as it's available,” said Dr. Urquiola. “So, around September or October is a discussion to have with the pediatrician, and if they're offering the vaccine go ahead and get the vaccine.”
You can find specialists to help you and your family with all your health concerns by visiting AdventHealthWaterman.com.
A Shot of Prevention - Flu Facts
As many as 650,000 people a year can die of the flu. People whose immune systems are vulnerable, such as young children and the elderly. Most people recover within a few weeks, but some can develop serious or deadly complications. AdventHealth Waterman Pediatrician, Jaclyn Urquiola Sorzano, MD says getting a flu vaccine is the best prevention and dispels common myths:
The flu vaccine can give me the flu.
The injected flu vaccine contains an inactivated virus that cannot give you influenza. If you feel achy or slightly feverish, it is a normal reaction of the immune system to the vaccine, and generally lasts only a day or two.
I have had the vaccine and still got the flu, so it doesn’t work.
Several flu viruses are circulating all the time, which is why people may still get the flu despite being vaccinated since the vaccine is specific to one strain. However, being vaccinated improves the chance of being protected.
It’s a good idea to get the flu vaccine as late as possible so it lasts through the whole flu season.
Experts recommend getting the flu shot by the end of October, so it is effective once peak season begins in December. If you miss this deadline, you can still get vaccinated at any time during the influenza season.