Local man dies from flu complications, his family says - KPTV - FOX 12

Local man dies from flu complications, his family says

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A local family is grieving the loss of their son and brother, who they say died last week after getting the flu at just the age of 36.

Leslie Collins thought he just had a cold, but his sickness progressed quickly.

His little sister, Adrianne, told Fox 12 he was rushed to the hospital on January 5th after having problems breathing. Doctors discovered his kidneys were failing, then his heart stopped pumping. They revived him but he kept crashing, and after the fourth time there was nothing they could do.

“I held him and said, ‘Come on Les, you know, you can do this,' and they kept going and going,” Adrianne recalled. “I started panicking and that's when they pulled me out and that's when he passed.”

He was gone 6 hours after arriving at the hospital.

“I still can't believe it.” she said. “He was a really great guy so it's been really difficult.”

She said Les always got a flu shot and she believes he did this year, too.

But new information from the CDC shows this year's vaccine is only 23% effective because the strain that's making most people sick surfaced after it was made.

“[Doctors] said he had the Influenza B virus which lead to sepsis of the blood… and once that got there, they couldn't do anything,” she added.

It's hard to know how many other families may be suffering losses like the Collinses. Pediatric flu deaths are tracked, but adult deaths aren't, because in many cases – like Leslie's – death is caused by complications related to the flu.

The CDC reports widespread flu in nearly every state – including Oregon and Washington. The strain that's making most people sick this year, H3N2, causes more severe disease in young kids and the elderly than the H1N1 “Swine Flu” that became a pandemic in 2009.

Despite the less effective vaccine this year, the CDC recommends people still get it. It can protect against the severity of illness and still covers 3-4 strains of flu that may still surface in the coming months.

But for the Collins family, this flu season has already proved to be devastating.

“My brother was so caring and loving,” Adrianne added. “He taught me how to ride my bike, he taught me everything…. I miss him.”

If you'd like to help the family with Leslie's medical and funeral expenses, you can donate at http://www.gofundme.com/jyfgec.

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