When Alice Jones came down with the flu last Thursday, the 29-year-old aspiring nurse thought it was the common cold.
While her husband, Darrell, got better, Alice's symptoms persisted. On Saturday he brought her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with influenza. On Monday the mother of three died. She had no underlying medical conditions, WFAA reports.
"I made it through Afghanistan and thought we would move on with our lives," Darrell Jones of Dallas, told ABC News. "I was thinking that was the most dangerous part of our marriage."
After being diagnosed with the flu, Jones went to Walmart and bought over-the-counter medicines. By Sunday night, her condition worsened and she was experiencing shortness of breath, Fox 4 reports.
“It was strains A and B,” Jones said about his wife’s diagnosis. “Sunday evening, she started breathing hard." When she was brought to the hospital on Monday, she became critical.
"She had actually coded four times," Jones told Fox 4. "They had to resuscitate her."
Her family rushed to the hospital in time to say goodbye.
"They allowed me, my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law to all go back there to say our last words, and she coded again for the last time," Jones said.
The couple, who had been married for five years, did not receive flu shots this year. At the time of Jones' death, doctors insisted the couple’s three children ages 10, 7 and 3, were clear of the virus. One of the children tested positive for influenza.
“If that didn't happen, maybe my son would have died, as well," Jones said. "I don't know what I would have done if it was my wife and son."
Jones, who died on her husband’s 27th birthday, had recently gone back to work so Darrell could go to college. He is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan studying criminal justice.
More than 95 percent of flu cases in North Texas are the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, causing hundreds of hospitalizations. In Dallas County, the flu has been linked to 16 deaths.
"This is so sad," Dr. Richard Besser, ABC's chief health and medical editor, said. "Each year thousands of people die from the flu. Fortunately, most people who get the flu are sick for a couple of weeks but fully recover. Still, it is worth doing all you can to reduce the chances you will get the flu. This includes getting vaccinated (it's not too late), washing your hands frequently and practicing the behaviors you'd like others to follow: Cover your cough with your elbow or a tissue and stay home from work if you are sick. This should help keep those around you healthier."
Jones said the doctors told him his wife died of strains A and B of the influenza virus. An autopsy will be performed to confirm the cause of death.
An online fund has been started to support the Jones family. Learn more here.