Woman loses all four limbs to the FLU as cases rise in the US

Mother-of-two had all four limbs amputated after catching the FLU

  • Kristin Fox, 42, from Ohio, went to the ER after her sore throat got much worse
  • Doctors placed her in a medically-induced coma after she developed sepsis
  • READ MORE: Warning signs your immune system is run down this winter 

A mother-of-two developed complications after catching the flu that were so severe doctors had to amputate all four of her limbs to save her life. 

Kristin Fox, 42 and from Poland, Ohio, went to the emergency room with a sore throat. When tests showed she had the flu, she was prescribed medication and sent home.

However, she quickly returned when she became so sick she was unable to even get off her couch. 

Doctors then diagnosed the high school assistant principal with sepsis, a life-threatening condition where the immune system overreacts to an infection and damages organs.

The condition, which strikes 1.7million adults in the US every year, can quickly lead to death.

In Ms Fox’s case, it led to infections so severe that she was placed in a medically induced coma and doctors were forced to amputate her arms and legs to save her life. 

Kristin Fox, 42, from Ohio (pictured above), had her legs amputated below the knee and her arms amputated below the elbow after suffering complications from flu

Ms Fox is shown above holding a fork while she learns how to use her prosthetic limbs. She said she now no longer uses the arms and only uses prosthetic legs

Ms Fox is pictured above before her amputations with her children, who were aged nine and six when she was admitted to hospital with the serious infection

Ms Fox was admitted to the hospital in March 2020, just before Ohio imposed its first Covid lockdown because of the emerging pandemic.

In an attempt to give her body time to rest and avoid further deterioration, doctors placed her in a medically-induced coma.

After a week, they were able to slowly wake her up. 

Despite the challenges she faced after coming out of the coma, Ms Fox said she felt ‘lucky’ her limbs had been amputated instead of her losing her life.

She told Fox News: ‘Sometimes I catch myself complaining, but then I remind myself that my kids could have been mourning my death.

‘They’re 12 and 10 now, and I can’t imagine them living without me.

‘People send me stuff and stop me in the store and say, “I pray for you all the time”. Those are the people who got us through.’

Ms Fox was discharged from the hospital a few weeks after waking up and sent to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Rehabilitation Institute.

There, she underwent three hours of physical therapy every day for six weeks in order to learn how to use her limbs again.

In October 2020, seven months after her ordeal began, she received prosthetics for her arms and legs.

She now uses the leg prosthetics regularly, but forgoes the ones for her arms — insisting life is ‘easier’ without them. 

Ms Fox is shown above left learning to use the prosthetic limbs. A year after the infection, she has now returned to work

Ms Fox is pictured above during a session to learn how to use prosthetic limbs

One year after her hospitalization, Ms Fox was ready to return to work and resumed her position as assistant principal at Campbell High School.

She told FOX: ‘I mentally had to go back to work.

‘I’m a very “go, go go” type of person, and if I went out on disability, I was not going to have a good quality of life.

‘I had a lot of young eyes watching me, and I knew there were so many kids who would learn so much from my reaction to this.

‘It’s taught them about respecting differences and treating everyone fairly, regardless of their ability. And it’s taught them how they should overcome their own barriers and tough moments.

‘As an educator, I didn’t want my students to think I took the easy way out.’

Ms Fox also revealed although insurance covered some of her costs the medical bills have still been high. She has also had to pay for renovations to her home in order to make it more accessible.

This has led her community to rally and organize several fundraisers to help her handle expenses. 

Warning that swine flu could return this winter 

Officials are now urging millions of eligible Americans to get their annual jabs before the season kicks off. 

While many cases of the flu are mild, some can lead to serious side effects — as in Ms Fox’s case — and even death.

And, as the flu season carries on in the US, cases of the virus are rising, with doctors recommending everyone get the flu vaccine to protect themselves.

The vaccine is offered to everyone six months and older, although health experts say it is especially important for people 75 and older.

The shot does not guarantee someone will not catch the flu, but it slashes the risk of them suffering from severe disease if they become infected.

As of the end of September, about 173million flu vaccine doses had been distributed by manufacturers and 47 percent of US adults had gotten a flu shot. 

Fifty-five percent of kids had received one, as have 71 percent of people 65 years and older.  

In its latest report, which covers data for the week ending October 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said flu-like illness is beginning to increase, with some states reporting high levels of influenza-like infections. 

Influenza-like illnesses include other respiratory illnesses like Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Alaska is currently reporting the most activity in the US, with its status classified as ‘high.’ It is closely followed by Florida, Georgia and Mississippi — all of which are deemed to have ‘moderate’ flu-like activity. 

Additionally, for the week ending November 3, private labs in the US tested 50,459 samples for flu and found 2 percent were positive. 

In public labs, of 2,213 samples tested, 8.5 percent were positive for flu.

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