A mum from Cornwall has issued a warning and released these shocking pictures of her eight-year-old son in intensive care – with the flu.
Janine Riley said her son Henry went from being an active child who was 'fit and healthy' to struggling to breathe or walk along a corridor.
One day, he was playing rugby then came home complaining of a stomach ache.
But his condition quickly worsened and at the end he struggled to breathe and burn up.
An ambulance was called and he was rushed to the hospital where Henry was diagnosed with the flu, but his condition was so bad that he was put in intensive care.
Now, Janine, 44, of Wadebridge, Cornwall, wants to warn other parents just how bad the flu can be.
She said: "He was fine one day playing rugby, came home with a tummy ache. We put him to bed with paracetamol and ibuprofen.
"The next day he was really poor, very hot, struggling breathing, so we called an ambulance and within minutes he had been rushed to hospital.
"A few minutes more at A&E and he was taken to the theater and put to sleep and he was taken to intensive care."
"It was really scary," she added.
"They couldn't look after him in our hospital so they transferred him to the Bristol paediatric intensive care unit where he was on a ventilator for three days.
"But he was really lucky and did recover really well, enough to come back to our local hospital where he stayed for another two weeks.
"We had lots of physiotherapy, getting him to breathe again. He couldn't stand up, he couldn't walk.
"He'd gone in a few days from being a fit, healthy eight-year-old boy to not being able to walk down the corridor, it was really sad."
All primary school children are now eligible for free flu vaccination, and Public Health England wants to increase the rate of youngsters being given nasal spray.
Parents will be asked to complete a consent form allowing their child to be vaccinated.
Around 60 percent of school-aged children in South Wet received the vaccine last year.
Dr Julie Yates, head of screening and immunization at Public Health England South West, said: "We are so pleased that Year 6 children are now eligible for the flu vaccine which means all primary school children can now have this vaccination at school.
"Flu is a really nasty bug and it's not like having a cold. It can have serious complications and can be life threatening.
"At the very least it can knock you off your feet for days.
"This means absenteeism from school for children and time off for parents, not to mention the possibility of spreading the bug in families especially in the older vulnerable community."