4-year-old girl blinded by the flu

Posted at 6:35 AM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 07:35:52-05

A 4-year-old girl from Iowa is recovering from a life-threatening case of the flu.

But the illness blinded her, and doctors say it could be permanent.

The day before Christmas, this happy, healthy 4-year-old little girl had to be life-flighted to the Children's Hospital at the University of Iowa as her parents watched - terrified.

Jade had the flu, and she was unresponsive, a ventilator breathing for her.

For days, Jade's mom and dad didn't know what the future would bring.

Her doctors feared she might not make it.

"It just hurts and it rips your heart out because you just want her to wake up," Phillips said.

After nearly two weeks, Jade woke up. It felt like a miracle.

But then, the doctors noticed something.

Jade could not see. The flu caused inflammation in her brain, and she may be blind forever.

Jade went home from the hospital on Jan. 9.

Her mom says both Jade and her sister received a flu shot last march.

She thought that shot was good for an entire year.

She didn't realize she needed to get the girls vaccinated again for the new 2019-2020 flu season.

Since the flu virus changes year to year, the vaccine also changes.

Flu vaccines become available at the end of the summer, and the CDC recommends getting one by the end of October to protect against flu in the upcoming winter.