When Sienna Rose Pereira hit a deadly strain of the common flu virus, it was just too overwhelming for her little body.
Her heartbroken parents noticed that the little two-year-old had visibly become unwell at the beginning of the month and her mother hurriedly brought her to the doctor.
Deeply concerned about the symptoms Sienna showed, the family doctor immediately sent her to Sydney Children's Hospital in Westmead.
But her condition worsened and she died only 24 hours later last Sunday when her livelihood was withdrawn.
Sienna developed high fever and swelling that developed around her brain while being treated in the hospital, according to a statement on a fundraising website established to support her grieving family.
She was not vaccinated and she was among the other 19 children who were admitted to the Sydney Children's Hospital in Westmead between April 3 and July 8.
Worryingly, of these children, only two were fully vaccinated.
The state authorities say that Sienna's death should trigger a warning shot for parents who have not had their children vaccinated – because the worst of this year's flu season is yet to come.
"We know that 15 of the children [admitted to Westmead] for the free flu vaccine in question, but only two of them were fully vaccinated against the flu, "said NSW Health Board Dr. Kerry Chant in a statement.
"The number of influenza cases is increasing across the country, and influenza A (H1N1), which affects mostly children and young adults, is the main burden circulating in the community."
Sienna's tragic death is the first in 2018 that hit a child and was caused by the deadly influenza A strain that was at the center of the 2009 pandemic.
It was a slow start to the flu season in NSW, with 256 cases a week confirmed until July 8, compared with 6449 cases in the corresponding week in 2017.
Almost all of the 256 cases had been infected with influenza A, the main burden circulating in NSW, mostly affecting children and young adults.
In May, doctors across the country had rations fired for the most vulnerable due to the unprecedented demand for jab.
The health authorities said they were victims of their own success. Doctors, the Australian Medical Association and governments are pushing for people to be vaccinated so well that they can no longer compete.
But after the tragic death last Sunday, Dr. Chant stress that the free flu shot was "plentiful" for children under five.
"This is an important reminder for parents who have not yet vaccinated their children, that the flu can be life-threatening and it's not too late to vaccinate," she said.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN IT'S A COLD OR FLUKE?
Flu symptoms can hit children from nowhere, but there are often clues that can let you know if it's a cold or worse, said the vice president of the Australian Medical Association. Tony Bartone.
"The virus can progress pretty quickly in people of all ages, usually within a few hours or a day," Dr. Bartone told news.com.au in response to last year's killer flu season. "It usually starts with a cold and a little pain, they are also the symptoms of a cold, so it's often difficult to tell the difference.
"However, if you notice that your child has a high fever, cramping the back of his head or legs, and is having trouble getting out of bed, then it's probably the flu, and you probably should get a flu call and pick you up get a medical advice.
"If they do not respond to Panadol or other high-fever medicines, they will not respond to fluids or hold them off, they'll be dizzy, and they'll struggle to catch their breath, and the symptoms of the flu will have become severe and you should contact your doctor. "
Although the influenza subtype influenza A (H3N2), which was named the deadliest strain of the virus in last year's record-breaking flu season, is more difficult to protect against a vaccine, it is still our best barrier against the virus.
"It's the only thing we need to protect ourselves and our children," Dr. Bartone.
"We know that children do not tend to be vaccinated compared to the rest of the population – in some areas of WA they even have up to 10 percent free vaccinations and we know that children between six months and two years are more prone to the complications of the flu.
"Children also tend to have a lot of physical contact with each other and with their parents, so we need to make sure we are as hygienic as possible – that is, to cough and dispose of tissues, to wash our hands and keep ours Keep the immune system at bay by not running down and eating healthy. "