Flu Fighter: Mindy Basis

Meet flu fighter Mindy Basis, who shares her story of experiencing acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, kidney and heart failure from her flu illness to educate others. She also fights flu through her advocacy work with Vaccinate Your Family’s SQUAD™.

Mindy Basis – CDC Flu Fighter Profile

1. How has the flu impacted you personally? Why do you fight the flu? 

I never thought much about flu until I got the flu. I work with students and getting sick is part of my job. I always assumed if I got flu (a three-letter word I now fear), it would mean a few days of rest and a few days off from work. Well, I was very wrong. I was sick for about a week with a fever and body aches, and then started to have difficulty breathing. I went to several doctors who DID NOT diagnose me with flu. I struggled at home to breathe until my lips turned blue and my family finally insisted that I go to the emergency room. Once I was admitted to the hospital, I stayed there for months. As a result of my flu illness, I experienced acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, kidney and heart failure, and was put on life support to stay alive. When I woke up a month later to find out that I’d had flu, I was shocked! My thought was: how can this happen? How can anyone get this sick from flu? So, now I want others to know about flu and the potential seriousness of this virus.

2. How do you fight the flu? 

I never got a flu vaccine in the past. I have an egg sensitivity and was told by many doctors that I could not get a flu vaccine. I now understand that CDC guidance indicates that it’s safe for people with egg allergies to get a yearly flu vaccine. I also never thought that flu illness could be so serious, even for healthy adults. Now I am the FIRST to get a flu vaccine. I also take other measures to stay healthy, including a healthy diet and lots of hydration. Most importantly, I try to rest when I am tired and run down to avoid getting sick. I share my story to educate others and I also fight flu through my advocacy work with Vaccinate Your Family’s SQUAD™.

3. What would you say to those who are hesitant about getting a flu vaccine?

I did not get a flu shot and I almost died. Is it worth risking your life by not getting a vaccine that could possibly save you? There is so much science and research that proves the safety and effectiveness of flu vaccines. Seasonal flu vaccines are especially effective at preventing severe flu-related outcomes, like hospitalization and death. For me, it’s simply not worth skipping a seasonal flu vaccine and putting myself at risk of getting sick – or worse, getting put on a ventilator and/or life support.

4. What do you want others to learn from your experience with flu? 

Never take your life for granted because it can change instantly. I never thought flu would cause me to be hospitalized and on life support. Live each day and be happy, positive, and smile! Don’t let small things and the negativity of others get you down. Getting your seasonal flu shot helps keep you healthy so you can enjoy your life with family and friends!

To read Mindy’s full story, visit www.vaccinateyourfamily.org/mindy.