ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- Photographer and mother of three Ashley Allen was hospitalized for nearly two months for the flu virus strain H1N1 and said it nearly took her life.
Allen said she has had the flu shot in the past but this year it slipped her mind.
On Dec. 11, Allen went to the emergency room at Alamance Regional Medical Center for what she thought was a bad cold and high fever.
After a week, Allen was transported by helicopter to UNC Memorial Hospital and immediately began treatment for H1N1.
Allen said for weeks she was put on a form of life support called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation or ECMO.
"What it does is it takes all of your blood out of your body and puts oxygen into it, cleans it and puts it back into your body and in the process runs your heart and lungs for you," Allen said.
Even after her release from the hospital on Jan. 24 Allen said she still has to do physical therapy to regain strength and relies on oxygen until her lungs strengthen as well.
She is also thankful for the prayers and help from close friends and family to get through her sickness and return home to her husband and three children.
Allen said she plans to be healthy soon and wants others to know the importance of the flu shot and the value it has on one's health.
"In a matter of five days I went from cough and fever to life support," Allen said. "So I would definitely say make sure you get the flu shot to at least cut down on the chance of getting it."