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Gwynn Cassidy

Former Executive director at The Global SHE Initiative

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person getting a flu shot

Stay Flu-Free This Season: Get Your Flu Shots

2009 has been a year riddled with health issues for my family and I: My Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, a childhood friend died of heart-failure at the ripe-old-age of 36, and I lost a baby 5 months into my pregnancy. So, deciding what I'm most thankful for this year is a no-brainer: My health and the health of my family and friends.

Determined to stay healthy and to protect my family this winter, I've insisted that we all get the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines. I've also called 3 pregnant friends to explain the importance of these life-saving vaccines - particularly because of their pregnancies – and implored them to talk to their health care professionals about getting both flu shots.

If you're wondering why it's such a priority to me, you've never had the flu.

In February 2005, I got the flu and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I can't count how many times I thought I had the flu prior to having it but, in retrospect, I now know they were merely bad colds. When you actually get the flu, it's like nothing else. I had just started to date the man who is now my husband and, thankfully, he was there for me every single day as I shivered and sweated myself into exhaustion. There were times I thought I was going to die and, when my fever was at its highest, he practically carried me to the hospital. I suppose that's when I knew he was a keeper. Of course, when he walked my dog for me when I was too sick to stand, it really sealed the deal ;)

If you have any questions about preventing the flu during pregnancy and breastfeeding, finding out why it's safe to get the flu shot, and how it can help you to avoid dangerous complications, visit our Flu and Cold Health Center and our Pregnancy & Parenting Center's Flu-Free and a Mom-to-Be: Flu Season Update. Know anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding? Share this information with them today.

Have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving everyone!

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