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27-Year-Old Texas Fitness Trainer Who Exercised 'All the Time' Dies of Swine Flu

People logo People 2/9/2018 Jason Duaine Hahn

a man holding a sign © Facebook

A health and fitness trainer from Texas tragically died after showing symptoms of the influenza virus last month.

Jeremy Westerman loved to exercise and was passionate about helping others as a personal trainer, his parents, Marty and Diana Westerman, told Fox 4 News. Though they said their 27-year-old son had always been healthy, Jeremy told them he began to feel lethargic and nauseated around the holidays.

“I fixed all of his favorite foods at Christmas. He filled his plate but said, ‘I’m sorry, mom. I can’t eat. I’m nauseated, and I can’t eat,’ ” Diana Westerman told the news station. “I again begged him to please go see a doctor. And he promised me he would, but he didn’t do it.”

On January 2, Westerman’s parents say he became violently ill and went to bed to rest after coming down with a high fever. Westerman died in his sleep that same day.

“As a parent, that’s a major shock,” Marty Westerman told CBS Dallas-Fortworth. “This is something we did not expect.”

“I just felt like it was just… like a senseless death,” added Diana.

According to Fox 4, an autopsy report released by the medical examiner this week revealed Westerman’s cause of death was brought on by the H1N1 flu virus (commonly referred to as “swine flu”). He also had an adrenal insufficiency that likely made him more vulnerable to the infection.

The Centers For Disease Control estimates more than 14,000 Americans were hospitalized with the flu virus since October. The last major flu epidemic in the U.S. was the 2009 swine flu, which caused over 270,000 hospitalizations and over 12,000 deaths. A report released by the government on Friday said this season’s flu epidemic has become just as bad as the 2009 outbreak, and is expected to worsen.

This season, the predominant strain is H3N2, which causes the worst outbreaks of the two influenza A viruses and two types of influenza B viruses.

The CDC recommends the flu vaccination, which can lessen the chance that someone catches the virus by 10 to 60 percent (though it doesn’t guarantee that someone will not catch the flu). They also recommend washing your hands throughout the day, contacting your medical provider and not going to work or school if you feel symptoms, getting adequate rest and staying hydrated.

According to an online obituary, Westerman was a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in business before becoming a fitness manager at the 24 Hour Fitness in Mesquite.

“He was in such good health,” Marty told CBS. “He was a trainer. He worked out all the time. And for it to take him like it did, it’s absolutely terrifying.”

One of his defining physical features, other than his fitness, was the “Trust Your Struggle” tattoo across his chest. It is a reference to the Bible passage Romans 5:3-5.

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,” the passage reads, “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

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