Less than 24 hours after Adam was taken to the emergency room, doctors told the family that Adam had two strains of the flu.

By Char Adams
January 18, 2018

Just a few weeks ago, Adam York, of Pinson, Alabama, was enjoying Christmas Day with his wife and children. Now, he’s fighting for his life in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with the flu.

“On Christmas night, my husband started to feel bad,” Adam’s wife, Felicia, tells PEOPLE. “He was sick for about a week and then on New Year’s Day, we started to hear fluid in his lungs when he was breathing. His lungs were filling, but he couldn’t get anything out.”

Felicia, 32, says Adam, 38, tried over-the-counter medicines but nothing seemed to work. She took him to the hospital on Jan. 2.

Less than 24 hours after Adam was taken to the emergency room, doctors told the family that Adam had two strains of the flu, which had resulted in pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) — a condition in which fluid collects in the lungs and deprives organs of oxygen.

“It was unbelievable. I remember thinking, ‘How did this happen?’ ” the mom of three says, noting that she and the couple’s children had recently gotten over colds.

“Here’s this big, strong guy in the house and he’s in the hospital fighting. It’s unreal. How did this happen? He’s healthy. He doesn’t smoke, there’s nothing that would make him get this sick.”

Adam’s condition quickly took a turn for the worse and doctors moved him to the intensive care unit.

“I was shocked. I mean, this had been 24 hours and he went from speaking to me and telling me that he felt okay to now he’s being sedated,” Felicia says. “He was asking for it because he had such trouble breathing, he said, ‘Just let them put me out … I can’t take it anymore.’ ”

Felicia told ABC News that Adam runs a popcorn-making business and does not have health insurance. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover his medical expenses.

Felicia tells PEOPLE that it will likely be weeks before Adam is out of the coma, but doctors don’t know whether he will survive the illnesses.

“His case is pretty severe. We just take it day by day,” she says, noting that she is aware of the possibility that she may lose her husband. “I try not to dwell on that. What would I do? The hardest part [of all this] is waiting, and not knowing.”

She adds that her young children —ages 10, 5 and 3—worry about their father: “My little girl tells me, ‘I’m scared. Is Daddy gonna come home?’ To see my kids shaken up gets me.”

Felicia has been by Adam’s side each day of his nearly two-week hospital stay, and she says she longs for her husband to open his eyes and talk to her again.

“I want to tell him that I love him and that he’s strong and that he’s gonna pull out of this,” she tells PEOPLE.

Now, the heartbroken mother is urging others to take precautions this season. “Wash your hands, be mindful. Stay home if you’re sick,” she says.

Stories of flu-related deaths have consumed headlines in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Jenny Ching, of Needham, Massachusetts, died suddenly of flu complications.

Last month, 21-year-old aspiring personal trainer Kyler Baughman died after experiencing septic shock caused by the flu virus. Just weeks earlier, Alani “Joie” Murrieta died one day after she was diagnosed with the flu.