One mom is sharing a powerful message after she lost her 4-year-old son Leon Sidari to the flu last year.
Laura Sidari, 32, delivers an urgent warning and emotional plea to parents to vaccinate their children … Now.
Last year, a few days before Christmas, Laura told People that her son came down with a fever and body aches, but she thought the flu symptoms could be remedied through rest and eating chicken noodle soup.
Unfortunately, the boy was rushed to a hospital for a severe cough and difficulty breathing. Laura, a military physician, said he was diagnosed in the pediatric ICU for bacterial pneumonia and the flu.
The mom described the heartbreaking moment she realized her son wasn’t going to make it.
“In the hospital, there came a moment when my brain knew that my son was dying, but my heart simply did not.
In medical training, I can remember similar moments in the critical care setting, where death approached like a train hurtling towards its final destination.
However, as a mother, nothing can prepare you for watching your child die.”
On Christmas morning the 4-year-old died of complications from the flu.
Leon was scheduled to get his vaccination a few days after he passed away.
Last year, Leon was one of 180 children nationally who died from the flu. He was an “old soul” with patience and…
She said her story is an example of why parents should not delay the flu shot. Looking back, she wishes she had taken the health risk more seriously.
She wrote on Facebook:
As a mother, I wish I had fully appreciated the risk of the flu to my healthy child. I had delayed his shot to align with a well-child visit later in the season, which he did not survive to attend.
Laura told People:
“Last year, if I had seen a story like my own, I would have prioritized the flu shot differently. As a physician, even I was unaware of the significant risk that the flu posed to my healthy child.
Through reaching out to others, including other physician parents, I have discovered that I am not alone in that misconception.”
She wrote that among the children who die “annually from flu-related complications, roughly 80 percent did not have their flu shot that season.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), she’s right, the best way to prevent a child’s death due to the flu is through vaccination.
Overall a flu shot reduces flu death in children by about 60 percent.