A dad who spent more than two months in a coma after contracting the flu is urging people to have the life-saving jab.
Miles Negus from Chester was left in a critical condition and was kept alive by a machine days after returning home from an Austrian skiing holiday earlier this year.
The 52-year-old, who was fit and healthy, became ill from a serious case of the flu virus and was put into a medically induced coma at the Countess of Chester Hospital for 57 days, resulting in a four-month hospital stay.
The self-employed decorative artist began to feel unwell just days into his holiday after catching what he believed was a simple virus one of his daughters had felt ill with.
However, two days after returning home, his condition deteriorated significantly.
Within hours, Miles was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital to manage his multiple failing organs.
His family were told to prepare for the worst.
Miles said: “One minute I’m flinging myself down the side of a mountain at 60mph and the next, for me on a conscious level, I am in a hospital bed unable to move or do anything for myself.
“I appreciate how close to the brink I was on numerous occasions, just from influenza as the starting point, this illustrates that influenza is a very different beast than we commonly think of and what I do know is that I am extraordinarily lucky to be alive.
“I’ve been pretty blasé all the way through my life about inoculations and the like, especially about influenza – I’ve always thought it’s just like a bad cold.
“But now I’ll definitely be getting the flu jab.”
His wife Jackie said: “I couldn't believe this was happening to us, we had only been on holiday.
“Miles had caught flu and our life had just changed like that – it was like a bad dream.”
Following his recovery, Miles is now spearheading the hospital’s internal vaccination campaign for staff.
Katie Holmstrom, Occupational Health Nurse and one of the flu campaign leads at the Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Miles’ frank insight into how the flu has impacted not only him but his family highlights how important vaccinating against flu is.
“Those who work in healthcare are not only at risk because of their exposure to the virus, but given the fact the flu can be present with no symptoms, there is a risk of infecting our already unwell patients.
“Miles was fit and healthy and did not fall into any of the at risk categories, yet his life was almost cut short because he contracted the virus.
“Whilst this is an extreme example of how ill someone who is fit and healthy can become from the flu, it serves to emphasise how serious the consequences of contracting flu would be to someone already vulnerable to illness.”