Scarlett VanStory Levinson is the third flu-related death in North Carolina in a month

By Jason Duaine Hahn
October 09, 2018 03:21 PM
Credit: LinkedIn

The North Carolina community is mourning a 29-year-old woman who died from complications linked to influenza as doctors across the country are urging the public to get vaccinated before the flu season picks up.

According to ABC 11, Scarlett VanStory Levinson — an attorney at the law firm Levinson & Axford — was ill for nearly 10 days before she opted to exercise and go back to work, in the hopes of returning to her routine. Her husband later found Levinson unconscious in the couple’s bathroom, and she died from complications of the infection on October 2.

“It’s been just shocking, and just doesn’t seem real,” friend Karen Axford told the news station. “She was just extraordinary at everything that she did.”

Levinson earned a degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and went on to receive a law degree at the Norman Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University in 2013, her LinkedIn page says. She opened the firm just a year later.

“Scarlett was a valued and beloved member of our firms, remarkable for her generosity, wit, and big heart. We have lost a great friend, colleague, and partner,” the firm said in a statement, according to the Daily Record. “She will be missed by everyone at our firms, our families, and the North Carolina community at large.”

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Two other people have died from flu in the state so far, ABC 11 reports — a school administrator last month, and a senior who succumbed to the illness in early October.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that the flu has caused between nine million to 35 million illnesses each year in the U.S. since 2010. While it’s hard to pinpoint how many people have died from the disease, the center estimates that flu-associated deaths range from 12,000 in 2011 and 2012 to a high of 56,000 in 2012 and 2013.

Though the flu season typically begins in October, it is most widespread between December and January. A report released by the government said last year’s flu epidemic was as severe as the 2009 swine flu outbreak.

The CDC recommends getting vaccinated, as it can lessen the chance of catching the virus by 10 to 60 percent (though it doesn’t guarantee that someone will not catch the flu).

They also recommend washing your hands throughout the day, contacting your medical provider and not going to work or school if you feel symptoms, getting adequate rest and staying hydrated.

“Every time I think of her, all I can picture is just her smiling and loving life and living life,” Axford told ABC 11 of her friend, Levinson. “You have to take a sickness like that seriously, and not push yourself too hard.”