A 7-year-old boy died just two days after he started to show symptoms of the flu and strep throat.
When Kevin Baynes Jr. was sent home from school on Friday after he vomited and fell asleep in class, his mother, Samantha Baynes, let him rest for the night with the hope that he would improve by the following morning. But, by the next day, Kevin was unable to walk and keep down food, according to WDBJ. Samantha took her son to a local emergency room where he was diagnosed with strep throat and the flu. Doctors gave the family medication for Kevin’s strep throat and sent them home.
“We tried to give him the medication and everything we were supposed to do,” Samantha Baynes, from Hurt, Virginia, told the news station. “He just wasn’t getting any better.”
They hoped another night of rest might help with his recovery, but on Sunday morning, Kevin’s older sister walked into his room and found him unresponsive. Kevin was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead the same day.
Kevin was a student at Mt. Airy Elementary School in the Pittsylvania County School District. According to WSET, Superintendent Mark Jones sent a letter to parents on Monday announcing four schools in the district were disinfected the previous night. He also included a list of flu symptoms and advice to keep the illness from spreading to others.
It isn’t clear if Kevin had a flu vaccination this season, but the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reports that the flu vaccine lessens the chance that someone catches the virus by 10 to 60 percent though it doesn’t guarantee that someone will not catch the flu. Yet, the annual vaccine is highly recommended by the organization for everyone 6 months and older and the more people who get vaccinated can limit the disease’s spread.
This flu season has proven disastrous for children across the country. The CDC currently lists the 2017 to 2018 flu season as “moderately severe,” and warns it could get worse. More than 30 children have succumbed to the virus across the nation so far, PEOPLE confirmed with the CDC.
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The Virginia Department of Health Medical Examiner is currently investigating Kevin’s cause of death, and results will be finalized “soon,” director Scott Spillmann told WDBJ. If Kevin’s death is officially attributed to influenza, he would become the first child to die from the flu in Virginia during the 2017-2018 season.
A family member has set up a GoFundMe Page to help cover the cost of Kevin’s funeral, and it has raised just over $5,000.
“Watch your children closely,” Samantha Baynes told WDBJ. “Don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room. No matter what time it is day or night, just take them.”