Should Pregnant Women Get a Flu Shot?

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The answer is definitely YES for pregnant women to get a flu vaccine this season. The flu shot is your best protection against serious illness as a result of the flu. The flu is more likely to cause serious illness in pregnancy compared to those women who are not pregnant. In pregnancy there are changes in the immune system, heart and lung function that make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from the flu which can lead to hospitalization or even death. Other problems as a result of the flu include dehydration, miscarriage and preterm labor. A flu shot can protect pregnant women, their unborn babies and even the baby after birth. When given in pregnancy, the flu shot has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby, up to 6 months old from the flu. The flu shot is safe during pregnancy and can be given at any time. The nasal spray vaccine should not be given to women who are pregnant.

The flu virus is thought to spread easily person to person through coughing, sneezing, or talking to someone in close proximity that has the flu. Other forms of viral transmission is when people touch something with the flu virus on it then touch their mouth, eyes or nose. People infected with the flu may be able to infect others as early as Day 1 before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

Everyday preventative behavior can help slow the spread of the flu virus include:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Wash your hands often with soap and water and if soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Avoid close contact with sick people.

If you or your child gets sick with the flu, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading illness.

Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care or for the necessities.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO

Posted in: Let's Talk Women's Health

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