Macauley Bratherton was a healthy and fit 20-year-old.
He liked nothing better than to spend time with his friends and family and his passion was to write and sing his own songs.
One Tuesday in January this year Macauley had flu like symptoms.
He was tired, had a cough and sore throat and the sniffles.
As the week progressed the symptoms became worse and on the Saturday an ambulance was called to the family home in Rhyl, Denbighshire to take Macauley to hospital.
His condition was so bad that he was admitted straight to the Intensive Care Unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital where he was put on a ventilator.
However, the family’s sorrow didn’t end there as Michaela’s father, Mick Bratherton was also admitted to hospital, also suffering with flu.
Mick said: “I’d been unwell for a few days, both Macauley and I were suffering with the same symptoms, my body hurt and it felt as if I’d had the stuffing knocked out of me and I was having difficulty breathing.
"I called for an ambulance for Macauley on the Saturday morning, but by that afternoon I was also admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in a bed opposite my son.
“I was in the Intensive Care Unit for two weeks, I’d never felt so ill. I still haven’t totally recovered from having the flu and I’m still being seen by the doctors for this. I was eligible for a flu jab, but didn’t have it - but I’ll definitely be having it this year.”
Michaela added: “We as a family are urging anyone who is eligible for a flu vaccine to have it, you won’t be helping just yourself, but also those who are not eligible for the jab – like Macauley. The more people who have the flu jab, the harder it will be for flu to circulate within communities.”
If you are eligible for a flu jab and haven’t yet received it, contact your GP practice to make an appointment or, if you’re an adult, visit your local participating pharmacy to receive your jab.
The free flu vaccine is available for the following:
- Children aged 2 or 3 years
- Children in Reception Class, Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 in primary school
- Anyone over the age of 65 years
- Anyone from 6 months to 65 years with a long term medical condition
- Pregnant women (at any time during their pregnancy)
- Adult with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more
- Anyone living in a Nursing or Residential Home
- If you are a carer
- Health and Social Care Workers
There were more than 34,000 "excess deaths" across England and Wales over the last winter period, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS said the rise "is likely due to the predominant strain of flu prevalent during the 2016 to 2017 winter which had greater impact on the elderly than the young".
Women were more likely than men to be affected.
January this year saw the highest number of deaths each day.
The ONS said that research has shown that as the temperature gets colder mortality increases, but temperature is only able to explain a part of the variance in excess winter mortality.