A Las Vegas mom says her 12-year-old son died because of the flu.
Carlo Occhipinti Jr. died on Dec. 30 -- two days before his 13th birthday.
"It's the hardest thing any parent can go through because they're your life you know. My children are my life."
Brenda and Carlo Occhipinti says Junior died less than 48 hours after being diagnosed with the flu. They say he was healthy and lively on the 28th of December, started getting sick on the 29th and died the day after.
"I just don't understand how the flu can easily just take him that quickly," says Brenda.
The Occhipintis miss their Junior -- the kid whose smile lit up the room and always made everyone around him laugh.
Junior was also a responsible older brother.
"He was a great help around the house especially with my youngest 3-year-old," says Carlo.
The Occhipintis say his vaccines were all up to date. They're left thinking if his genetic disorder made fighting the flu a lot more difficult.
But experts say this flu season is brutal.
Here in our area, authorities say 14 people have died from the flu.
Dr. Michael Johnson of the Southern Nevada Health District says, "Wait times at urgent cares are anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours. In ERs it can be anywhere from 4 to seven hours."
We're right at the peak of flu season which can last until spring.
"That's the bad news. The good news is just within the last week we've actually seen a downturn in the number of ER visits from influenza-like illness," says Dr. Johnson.
Meanwhile, the Occhipintis have a message to parents: If you think your child is sick, don't wait.
"Don't second guess it either is a lot of people might think they might got food poisoning or something they ate. It's gonna go away. You never know because that's what we thought," says Brenda.
Protect yourself and your family.
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