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Daniel Foulds lost his wife, 35, to the flu two weeks ago. Then his son got sick.

Daniel Foulds can’t count the number of times he’s turned up to a job site sick.

He’s a self employed carpenter, so if he doesn’t show up he doesn’t get paid – so he sucks it up.

As far as Dan was concerned, the flu shot was a waste of money.

But that’s all changed now. Two weeks ago, Daniel and his three children lost their beloved mother and wife to the flu.

Jacinta, 35, died five days after being diagnosed with Influenza A.

We’ve seen four times as many flu cases already this year, compared to last year’s entire season. Post continues after video.

Video by 7News

Speaking to the Courier Mail on Thursday, Daniel shared how just one week after losing Jacinta, his 10-year-old son Cory became sick.

“He had a vomiting bug and I could see the fear in his eyes,” Daniel said.

“He kept asking me if he would get well again. He was petrified of passing away as he saw mum being wheeled out of the house to the ambulance and she never came home.”

The scare with his son has reinforced for Daniel the importance of immunisation.

“I just don’t understand why children are not automatically immunised against influenza at school,” he said. “They get jabs for everything else.”

Speaking to The Project just a day after losing Jacinta, Daniel described the “struggle” he was facing – suddenly becoming a single father of three. “Minute by minute hour by hour, there’s ups and downs. It’s a rollercoaster. An absolute rollercoaster,” he said.

Daniel is determined to not let the Queensland nail technician’s death be in vain, and wants to spread the word so as to encourage others to take the flu seriously.

“I have been through a world of hurt. If I can use the death of my wife, my soulmate, my world – she was everything to me. If I can use her death in a positive manner, then it’s not all for nothing. She was a beautiful woman, it shouldn’t have happened,” he said.

On Friday two weeks ago, Jacinta was diagnosed with Influenza A and sent home, but on Monday night Daniel walked into the house after a day at work and found her still looking really crook.

“She wasn’t getting better, but she wasn’t getting any worse either, which was the hard thing. So I said ‘look it’s been too long, go back to the doctor’. She said ‘yep ok, I’ll go in the morning’,” Daniel told The Project.

The Foulds family. Image: Facebook/Daniel Foulds.
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At 8:30am the next morning, Daniel answered his phone to a deteriorating Jacinta.

"Babe, are you alright?" he asked.

"No, I don't think so. I don't know," she replied.

Daniel rushed home and when he walked in the door, it only took one look before he was frantically calling an ambulance.

Despite his hurried response, Daniel wasn't thinking the worst, telling his son, "It's just the flu mate, they'll take her to hospital and fix her up".

But when they got to the hospital, the doctor told Daniel it was far, far worse than he could have imagined.

"The doctor came to me and said 'Dan, she's really sick'. I said 'I know mate, that's why we've come'. He said, 'No, she's really, really sick. She could die'. I hit the floor," he told The Project panellists.

The doctors told him Jacinta had developed pneumonia and they wanted to put her in an induced coma. Before they did that, Dan was allowed to see his wife and have a chat.

"I walked over and hugged her, and the first thing she said, the last thing she said was 'I am sorry, I love you'. I turned and said 'It's not your fault. I am sorry, and I love you'. She said 'It's not your fault either'. We said the same thing... and then they put her into the coma and it was all downhill from there. She never woke up again," a sobbing Daniel recalled.


Sadly, Jacinta is one of many Australians who have lost their life this flu season.

There have been 199,412 confirmed cases of flu and more than 400 deaths in 2019 so far.

In Queensland alone, where the Foulds family live, 83 people have died.

In May Mamamia reported on the flu death epidemic and at that point only 105 had lost their lives.

The Quicky followed the story of 61-year-old Mark who contracted and died from the flu.

You can listen here. Post continues after podcast.

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“I might be coming down with something,” Mark had told his niece Annique on Mother’s Day. “I feel a bit off.”

Five days later, he collapsed in his bathroom, and by the next morning he was in the ICU on life support.

“His kidneys are failing,” the family was told by Mark’s shocked doctor, who had only done a full panel of normal bloods two weeks earlier.

The family was told to say goodbye, and made the excruciating decision to remove his life support tubes.

should I get the flu shot
Mark died from the flu earlier this year. He's one of hundreds of Australians to lose their life. Image: Supplied.

"The influenza virus is not a discriminating virus it infects everybody. We've had people in their 20s dying, it's a really nasty virus," GP Penny Adams told Mamamia.

Influenza infects the cells lining your respiratory tract from your nose down to your lungs.

"When it infects these cells, it replicates and makes hundreds of millions of copies of itself and in the process damages the cells, these cells have hairlike outsides that clear mucus, bacteria and anything we inhale.

"So when the cells are infected and die, a lot of the cells that protect our airways are shed because they are killed by the virus," explained Professor Kanta Subbarao from the World Health Organisation’s collaborative centre for influenza research.

It can take several days or weeks for these cells to regenerate and recover and that's when sufferers are prone to things like bronchitis and pneumonia.

"We treat the flu as if it's a day to day something that we have to live with, and it's just a part of life, it shouldn't be like that. I've learnt the hard way. I don't want anyone else to go through what me and my family are going through," Daniel told The Project on Thursday night.

"See a doctor if you feel unwell, stop going to work and giving it to other people... get the flu shot," he pleaded.

"If we save one life with our story, she didn't go in vain."

A GoFundMe has been set up to support Daniel and his family. You can donate here.

Tags: flu , health , news-stories , the-project
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