KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Marc Mackey's five-month-old daughter, Grayson, is fighting a cold but that's not the most dangerous illness he is worried about.
"I would do anything possible to keep her from getting the flu," Mackey said.
Mackey is one of thousands of parents who are fighting to keep their kids away from a rampant illness. But Grayson is too young for a flu shot.
"Influenza by itself can cause a very serious pneumonia that can result in hospital admission. On top of that it is estimated that 20 to 40 percent of children can develop a bacterial super infection," Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, of Children's Mercy, said.
Doctors at Children's Mercy said in just seven weeks they've diagnosed more than 1,500 cases of influenza in children. They expect even more in the next two weeks as the virus peaks.
A Kansas City family knows the pain the flu can bring. In December 2003, Julie Moise's son, Ian, died less than 30 hours after being diagnosed with the flu. He was only six months old. Julie hopes parents will do everything they can to protect their children so they don't have to go through what her family did.
"What I hope I strongly suggest to people is to take the flu seriously. Follow your instincts especially with your kids. Nobody knows your child better than you do." Moise said, "Still go get vaccinated. It`s the number one way to prevent the spread of the flu."
Moise has spent more than a decade spreading the word about how serious the consequences of the flu can be hoping parents, like Mackey, will take all the precautions they can.
Shortly after Ian died, Julie and her husband started the Ian's Rainbow Flu Foundation in an effort to help other families.