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California father fighting for life after ignoring flu symptoms

SAN DIEGO – With San Diego County in the midst of a flu epidemic, one family is in the fight of their lives.

Heavily sedated and on a ventilator, Shawn Burrough, of Lakeside, California is in the Intensive Care Unit at Sharp Grossmont Hospital fighting for every last breath.

“He’s in renal failure because of the infection in his blood. He’s getting dialysis,” his wife Jennifer told KSWB.

Jennifer said it all started around Christmas when a flu bug hit the Burrough household.

“He had a little chest congestion, headache, body ache -- the usual stuff where you’re like, OK, I’m getting the flu,” said Jennifer.

Even though Shawn was sick, he continued to work and didn’t rest.

Jennifer said the next thing she knew, on New Year’s Day they were in the emergency room.

“He couldn’t breathe. They had to rush me out, they had to intubate him and sedate him,” said Jennifer. “They told me he was in renal failure, his white count was through the roof, he has severe pneumonia.”

Jennifer said she and her family opted not to get the flu shot since the success rate was low. Now, on top of Shawn getting sick, the two younger children have also tested positive for the flu virus.

“The doctor checked them out. Their lungs are clear. Thank God everything’s fine,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer said Shawn is a U.S. Navy veteran who fought in the Gulf War. He works two jobs and is a father of four children. She never imagined a flu virus would take him down.

“Other than being a little overweight he’s totally healthy, a totally healthy guy,” said Jennifer.

Looking back, she wishes she would have been more careful.

“If you’re sick -- I mean the first cough, I don’t care if it’s not the flu -- go get seen just in case. You never know,” said Jennifer.

Since Shawn has been hospitalized, each day is a struggle.

“He’s my rock. He’s the love of my life, sole provider, great man," she said. "He’s everything."

Friends of the family have set up a fundraising page to help pay for expenses.