Young mother shares warning after surviving H1N1 flu - WSMV Channel 4

Young mother shares warning after surviving H1N1 flu

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Anne McGraw Anne McGraw

There's a growing chorus of Middle Tennesseans who are pleading with the public to go get their flu shot.

One of them is a Williamson County mother who went from avid runner to a patient at Vanderbilt Medical Center in a matter of days.

She says anyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot by now is gambling with their life.

Anne McGraw is young, active and what some might call a health freak.

"I eat all organic foods. I'm kind of that person on Facebook who's sharing health food tips. I'm the weirdo mom who brings organic milk to my children's daycare. I just, I think I take care of myself," McGraw said.

That's why when she missed her annual flu shot last fall for the first time ever, she barely gave it a second thought.

"I just didn't get around to it," she said. "I didn't think it was that big of a deal. I've never gotten the flu and figured if I did, I'll survive."

But last week, McGraw tested positive for the H1N1 strain of influenza and just three days later, the 36-year-old mother of two found herself in the Vanderbilt emergency room.

"They treated me and did my EKG. They said I might be having a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism. It was just crazy. I was like, 'How is this happening to me?'" she said.

But McGraw is not alone. Emergency rooms all over the state are packed with people of all ages whose flu turned to pneumonia.

That's why McGraw has a warning for others.

"The people who are dying right now are people like me, like this guy in Knoxville last night. He was 40 years old and has two kids. He had H1N1 last week, developed pneumonia and he died yesterday. It's just mind blowing," McGraw said.

And her message is it's not too late to take action.

"A lot of people were saying online, 'Well, I'll get [a flu shot] next year.' I'm like, 'No, get it now!' There are two more months in flu season," McGraw said.

Interestingly, McGraw says she didn't have a high fever at any point during this whole ordeal.

That's fairly uncommon but important to keep in mind if you're trying to decide whether you should go to the doctor or not.

Apparently, this is a more common symptom with the H1N1 strain.

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