BEREA, Ohio (WJW)– A student at Berea-Midpark High School passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday following complications from the flu.
Kaylee Roberts, 16, was hospitalized last week with flu-like symptoms, her uncle said. She returned to the hospital with complications, including pneumonia, and suffered a stroke.
“One week we’re preparing for Christmas, and the next, we’re preparing for a funeral. It’s very devastating,” Kaylee’s uncle, Matthew Roberts, said.
Kaylee was a junior at the high school. Her family described her as a kind, hardworking and intelligent girl, who cared deeply about animals, family and friends.
“She had a bright future, no matter what she wanted to do. And, she had the intelligence and drive to do it,” her uncle said.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health said this is the first flu-related death of the season.
The virus can trigger dangerous health problems.
“Oftentimes, flu manifests itself into pneumonia, and pneumonia in our county often kills between four to eight percent of people in a given week this time of year,” Cuyahoga County Board of Health Data Analyst Richard Stacklin told FOX 8 News.
As we enter the typical peak period for the flu, he reminded everyone to wash hands often, to stay home when sick and to get a flu shot.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends anyone older than six months receive a vaccination.
Stacklin said it’s not too late in the season; the vaccination just takes about two weeks to take effect.
“It’s really important that people really try to create this herd immunity, protect the flock, in terms of getting vaccines to protect other people,” he said.
Matthew Roberts started a GoFundMe account to help with Kaylee’s funeral expenses and thanked the community for the support the family has received.
Viewing for Kaylee will be held at Dostal Bokas Funeral Services on Tuesday, January 7 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The address is 6245 Columbia Road in North Olmsted.
“The flu is very dangerous. It’s not something to play with; the symptoms can escalate so fast,” he said. “Make sure you hug and hold your loved ones tight. Tragedies can spring super fast.”