Woman loses fingers to flu, urges others to get vaccinated now

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: via WINK News.

Flu season is set to ramp up Tuesday. Patients and doctors alike are urging anyone six months and older to get their flu shot.

But according to our poll on the WINK News Facebook page, the majority of participants don’t plan on getting one.

We spoke to Jen Ludwin, who says that’s a bad idea. She is telling people to get the flu shot.

“A lot of people think of the flu just coming in January or February, but I got sick in October,” Ludwin said.

Ludwin was 23 when she caught the flu virus.

“I figured, ‘You know what? I’ll spend seven days in bed and just fight it off and I’d be okay,’” Ludwin said. “But I was totally wrong.”

The virus caused Ludwin’s organs to begin to fail. It damaged her lungs and caused bleeding that resulted in amputations of some of her fingers. She spent months fighting for her life. Now she’s grateful to be alive.

“Since then, I have gotten the flu shot every single year,” Ludwin said. “I’m probably the first person in line to get it.”

The Florida Department of Health said the flu or pneumonia killed more than 3,000 adults in the state last year. Those numbers include 49 people in Collier County, 74 in Charlotte County and 103 in Lee County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the flu is unpredictable, and it’s hard to say how bad this year’s season will be. But Ludwin said it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“Even when people say, ‘I don’t ever get the flu,’” Ludwin said. “I say, ‘Well, there’s other people that are at risk.’”

That’s why Ludwin urges all her friends, family and neighbors to get the shot as soon as they can.

The CDC said vaccine makers are planning as many as 169 million doses of the flu vaccine for this year’s season, which is about as many as last season.

VaccineFinder.org shows all the places in Southwest Florida where the vaccine is offered.

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