Family of toddler who died after flu diagnosis wonders if flu shot could have saved her

MUNCIE, Ind. -- A little girl in Muncie, Indiana died Monday after going to an emergency room for flu-like symptoms. 

Tameka Stettler says her granddaughter, Alivia Viellieux, was about to turn 4 years old.

Stettler says they took Alivia to a medical clinic for flu-like symptoms on Tuesday. The clinic sent her to the emergency room, and she was kept at the hospital until Thursday.

"She was taking her fluids," said Stettler. "They took the IV out and she was drinking on her own."

On Thursday, Alivia appeared to be progressing and was sent home.

She was found dead Monday morning.

"She was eating cheerios last night," said Stettler. "She was walking last night. How does that just happen?"

Stettler says they had decided not to vaccinate her for the flu this year, and its a decision they'll spend the rest of their lives second guessing. 

"Alivia did not have it [a flu shot] because they had told us once the flu is going around it's not going to matter if you got it or not,' she said. "We just decided not to put those chemicals in the girl's body if its not gonna help."

If it is confirmed that Alivia died from the flu, hers would be the second flu death in the age range of 0-4 years old in the state.

"She was always happy, always sitting in. She was so full of life," said Stettler. "Nothing anybody says or does is going to bring that little girl back to us."

Ball Memorial Hospital released the following statement Monday evening.

“While we can’t discuss any patient’s care, we are very saddened by her passing. Our hearts go out to her family.”

Thirty-one flu deaths were reported last week, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

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The flu is “spread by respiratory droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets. People can also become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose,” according to the ISDH.

Symptoms include:

  • fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
  • headache 
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat 

While there is no cure for the flu, some medications can help ease symptoms, according to health officials.

How can you tell if you have the flu, allergies or the traditional cold?

If you are feeling the effects of allergies, you typically won't have a fever or much fatigue or body aches. If you have a cold, you might have a mild fever and some body aches. You might feel weak and even have some ear congestion. Colds generally last about a week.

If you're diagnosed with the flu, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands and stay home.

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