A devastated UK mother has issued a timely warning to other parents about the need for vaccination after discovering her two-year-old daughter died of flu.
Joelle Hughes’ little girl Lulabelle was “her happy, cheeky little self” when she went to bed one January evening, but tragically never woke up.
In a post on Facebook last week, the Kent mother wrote, that the toddler’s post-mortem results concluded she had contracted influenza.
“She went to bed with no symptoms of any illness, so it would of been the very beginning of the flu. It’s likely she developed respiratory problems whilst she slept,” Hughes wrote.
“Please I beg people when the winter months come, go to your GP and book your children in for the flu vaccine! Lula’s tiny body just couldn’t cope and resulted in her being taken from us far too early.”
After Lulabelle's death, Hughes reportedly wrote a tribute to her daughter on social media.
“My life, my angel, my beautiful soul of a daughter was taken from us so suddenly," it read according to local news outlet Kent Online.
"She went to bed Friday her happy cheeky self, she was a little monkey whilst I tried to brush her teeth. We gave her cuddles and kisses like usual and tucked her into bed. I found her later that evening not breathing.
“I tried so hard to get my angel back but for whatever reason my little girl is needed up there.
“She was a perfect one-year-old baby girl who loved more than anything to dance, have cuddles and play with her big brother. She will be loved dearly by everyone forever.”
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The mother's warning comes as researchers from the University of New South Wales warned that the emergence of new strains of influenza has increased the likelihood of a deadly pandemic on the scale of the deadly spanish flu.
More than 50 million people died worldwide when the virus spread across the world in 1918 and 1919.
Currently, it's estimated that more than 3000 Australians die as a result of influenza every year.
However, a recent study by the US Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has found that flu vaccinations significantly reduce the chances of death in children who contract the virus.
Drawing upon data from 2010 to 2014, the researchers found only one in four children who died had been vaccinated.