He'd been accepted to Oklahoma State University before the Christmas trip. And an acceptance letter from the University of Minnesota arrived in Texas while Max was sick in Minnesota, his uncle said.
Nearly 1,400 people attended a memorial service for Max two weeks ago in Texas.
"He exuded care and love for other people," Phil Schwolert said.
"The bottom line is take care of your kids, be close to your kids," he said.
On average, an estimated 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who are elderly and with certain chronic health conditions are generally at greatest risk from flu and its complications.
The current vaccine is about 60 percent effective, and is considered the best protection available. Max Schwolert had not been vaccinated, nor had the majority of the other pediatric deaths.
Even if kids are vaccinated, parents should be watchful for unusually severe symptoms, said Lyn Finelli of the CDC.
"If they have influenza-like illness and are lethargic, or not eating, or look punky — or if a parent's intuition is the kid doesn't look right and they're alarmed — they need to call the doctor and take them to the doctor," she advised.
CDC advice on kids: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm
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