11-year-old Hendersonville girl dies from flu - WSMV Channel 4

11-year-old Hendersonville girl dies from flu

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Savannah Hyden Savannah Hyden
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The flu is spreading all over Middle Tennessee, and it has brought one family unspeakable heartbreak. An 11-year-old girl has died, and this year's flu season is far from over.

Savannah Hyden's teachers describe her as brilliant. The Knox Doss Middle School student who excelled in the classroom and in band was loved by so many.

"She was so happy," said the girl's great-aunt Tricia Adams. "And she was a daddy's girl. Her daddy was her world."

The 11-year-old contracted the flu over winter break and then died Wednesday in the hospital.

The flu has claimed at least 11 lives this season in Tennessee, including two children.

Children and young adults are extra susceptible to the H1N1 strain, and with school just now back in session, there's extra cause for concern.

"Because kids are close together, they often forget to wash their hands. They forget to use a tissue or sleeve when they are coughing and sneezing," said Dr. Kelly Moore, director of the Tennessee Immunization Program.

Certain people showing flu symptoms should go to the doctor immediately: babies, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses and women who are pregnant.

"They can get very seriously ill from this particular strain, and they can die from this strain," Moore said.

If you are not pregnant and don't have underlying health problems like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, doctors say to use your instincts.

"It's important for people to go get help when they feel like something is seriously wrong," Moore said.

Tennessee has a high number of flu cases so far this season, and doctors expect an even bigger increase over the next few weeks.

Now, Savannah's family members urge you to do what you can to prevent it.

"Vaccinate your child. Vaccinate your family. Please go to the doctor," Adams said.

Savannah did not get her flu shot. Family members say it was the H1N1 strain that killed her.

And doctors advise that even if you've had the flu already, you should still get your flu shot. Just because you've contracted one strain, they say, doesn't mean you won't contract another.

A celebration of Savannah's life will be held at The Lighthouse Event Center, 133 Sanders Ferry Road, Hendersonville, on Saturday, Jan. 11. The family will receive visitors from 1 to 3 p.m. with a short tribute to Savannah held at 2:30 p.m., and each guest may release a balloon with a message in her honor.

A fund has been established in Savannah's memory. Donations can be made to any Regions Bank location to the Savannah Memorial Fund or online at either http://www.gofundme.com/65dv4k or http://www.youcaring.com/lilangelsavannahhyden.

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