TRUMBULL, Conn. (WTNH) – “On my 12th birthday, I was passing out in bed, basically,” says Jake Nuland of Trumbull.

In 2011, he wasn’t feeling well but had no idea his happy, normal life would be derailed.

“I went up to check on him and his lips were blue, I thought maybe he drank blue Gatorade but then I saw the Gatorade on his table was yellow and I knew something was really wrong,” says his mom, Lisa.

After a trip to the pediatrician, Jake was rushed to the hospital with complications of the flu. He was intubated and spent four days on life support in a medically induced coma.

“The only reason I took that picture is that it dawned on me that I might not get another picture of him,” says Lisa, referencing a photo of Jake in his hospital bed.

“If I didn’t get the flu vaccine, I’d probably be dead right now,” says Jake.

Lisa does credit the vaccine with giving Jake the added protection he needed to survive.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control shows that even during a season when vaccine-mismatched influenza viruses predominated, vaccination was associated with a reduced risk of critical influenza illnesses in children.

“To me, if the medical community is advising – I know a lot of people think it’s big pharma and other factors playing in, maybe there are. But I trust our doctor who saved his life,” she says.

Jake, now a junior in college, still lives with scarring in his lungs. Daily, he partakes in mechanical vest therapy to loosen congestion in his chest.

“His life has been impacted by this flu even now, it’s taking him longer to finish school because he gets sicknesses and we have to be more careful,” says Lisa.

This Trumbull family’s message? To take the flu – and the recommended measures to prevent it very seriously.

“I just know that anything in him that’s gonna fight this was worth it for me – when you’re praying for a miracle, that’s the miracle,” says Lisa.

Here in our area, flu season typically peaks in late February or March, so there’s still time to get protected. Experts encourage everyone over the age of six months to be vaccinated.