Weatherford Teacher, 38, Dies After Getting Flu

Number of flu-related deaths in North Texas climbs to 97

A popular second grade teacher in Weatherford who encouraged her students to “read, read, read,” died of complications from the flu, her husband said.

Heather Holland, 38, of Willow Park, died Sunday. She taught at Bose Ikard Elementary.

“She was a wonderful person,” her husband Frank Holland said.

He said she had no previous medical condition.

Left: Reported Flu Activity for the Week of Dec. 31, 2016 (Week 52); Right: Reported Flu Activity for the Week of Dec. 30, 2017 (Week 52)
Data: CDC

Frank Holland said his wife started feeling ill a week ago and went to the doctor on Wednesday.

She was diagnosed with the flu and given a prescription for TamiFlu, which she started taking Thursday, he said.

Influenza Surveillance Report (Week Ending Jan. 27, 2018)
Click on each state for more information.

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Nina Lin/NBC

Her condition worsened and she checked into Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth late Friday, her husband said.

Holland died after she went into septic shock, he said.

She leaves a daughter, 10, and son, 7.

Holland was a member of Willow Park Baptist Church and previously taught in Saginaw.

"She was an incredible teacher, an incredible mother, an incredible wife," said pastor Clark Bosher.

She and her husband were high school sweethearts after meeting at Castlebury High School, Frank Holland said.

 “I am really enjoying my kiddos,” Heather Holland wrote in a message to parents on her school webpage. “Be sure to READ, READ, READ! The more your child reads they will GROW academically.”

The Weatherford Independent School District said "today is a difficult day at the campus" and that they were working to provide care for students and faculty which will include counselors at the school to provide support throughout the week.

"Everyone is taking it pretty seriously," said kindergarten parent, Sandrell Lloyd. "I wonder if I shouldn't leave my baby home for a week or so and just make sure everything is OK in the school."

The district said custodians have been deep cleaning the schools since December and that Holland's campus was last cleaned on Friday, Feb. 2.

"There is cause for alarm right now," said Alicia Olson, a pharmacist at Hometown Best Value Pharmacy in Weatherford. "People are dying."

Olson said there's been an increase in flu-related business since the start of the year.

The recent death made 79-year-old Patricia Galbreaith go get her first-ever flu shot.

"I couldn't tell everyone else to go get one and me not get one," Galbreaith said. "So I came and got one."

As of Feb. 5, there have been 97 reported flu-related deaths this season in North Texas, including 54 in Dallas County, 23 in Tarrant County, 14 in Collin County, five in Denton County and one in Parker County.

NBC 5's Noelle Walker contributed to this report.

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