Kyler Baughman was 21 years old and in fantastic shape. His mother told a Pennsylvania TV station he wanted to be a trainer. Photos from his Instagram show that was no pipe dream.
On December 22, 2017, Baughman's family could tell he felt like crap. His mom would later tell WPXI that he "looked rundown and had a bit of a snotty nose." In spite of his youth and being in incredible shape, Baughman just kept getting worse. By December 28 he was dead from "Organ failure due to septic shock caused by influenza," said his mother.
The 2018 flu season—exactly 100 years after the Spanish flu killed millions worldwide—has proven unusually hazardous. There's no apocalyptic panic in the streets, but experts also say it could very well be the worst flu season in history.
Hospitals in California have been forced to set up tents in their parking lots to handle the overflow of flu sufferers. On Wednesday the AP reported that medical facilities in Oregon have been "pushed to capacity."
The scientific designation for this season's dominant strain is H3N2, but it's been nicknamed the Aussie Flu, as it originally struck Australia hard in 2017.
Scientific American explains a little more about this problematic virus:
To put it flatly, H3N2 is the problem child of seasonal flu.
It causes more deaths than the other influenza A virus, H1N1, as well as flu B viruses. It’s a quirky virus that seems, at every turn, to misbehave and make life miserable for the people who contract it, the scientists trying to keep an eye on it, and the drug companies struggling to produce an effective vaccine against it.
The virus, reports Scientific American, is persistent, mutates fast, and while it can really hit the elderly and children, it's aggressive enough to take out men or women in the prime of life.
While the nature of H3N2 seems to indicate it can still infect even those who have had the vaccine, the CDC still recommends getting the flu shot. Even if you get the flu, it's likely to be a weaker case than the full-on blast to the immune system experienced by those who haven't made it to the pharmacy or their GP to take care of business.
But if it can take out a guy like Kyler Baughman, better safe than sorry.