DUBLINER Lee Kutner woke up with her skin "crawling" and severe aches and pains and had no idea that she had contracted swine flu.
Just five days before Christmas, Lee (27) said that she had a few mild sneezes and had been run down for a couple of days, but thought nothing of it and presumed it was an allergy.
Then on December 21, she woke up in a desperate state.
"I had aches and pains like you wouldn't believe," Lee said.
"My skin was absolutely crawling -- one minute I was really hot, the next I was shivering, the next I was in a sweat."
The personal assistant, originally from Rathfarnham and now living in Shankill, said that she could barely get out of bed with the illness.
"I didn't want to watch TV. Both of my phones were face down and on silent," she said.
"The only people I wanted to speak to were my mum and boyfriend.
"A lot of people say they have 'the flu' but this really takes it out of you. I was breathing like Darth Vader."
Lee, the creator of beauty blog Mwah.ie, said she assumed she had the flu and took an antibiotic she already had at home.
But then when the sickness developed she decided to visit the doctor.
"I had a stitch in the right side of my chest -- then I thought that it was pneumonia," she explained.
"Brian, my boyfriend, said that I had to go to the doctor.
"When we got to the doctor's surgery, and he said I had it, I burst into tears."
Lee believes she was one of the first cases of swine flu diagnosed this year as she hadn't heard of other cases.
"I didn't believe it was swine flu -- I thought that it was last year," she said.
"I didn't think that it would be fatal."
"I knew what it meant for Christmas -- I was just thinking that it would ruin the next 10 days off that I had."
The antibiotic that Lee had taken was the right one and her doctor extended the prescription further.
"I thought it could have been a chest infection but my chest was completely clear -- that's how the doctor knew it was swine flu," she said.
"I was fairly knocked out by it."
Lee's boss in travel retail supply company Retail in Motion said that he was thinking of introducing the flu jab into the workplace.
"I will definitely get it next time," Lee said.
"I'm feeling a lot better now. I knew I was a lot better when I wanted to put my eyeliner and makeup on for the first time in weeks."