Why women – especially pregnant women – should get their flu shot each year
It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year. There’s just one little speed bump that keeps this time of the year from being perfect: flu season. Unfortunately, flu season spans about half the year – October through mid May – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get ahead of the game.
October through November is the prime time to get the flu shot, so now is the time to take action. Your friends at Panhandle OBGYN are pleased to offer flu shots to our pregnant patients while supplies last. Pregnant women, call today to make your appointment for a flu shot.
There are many reasons pregnant women need to get a flu shot, other than just self-preservation:
Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in expecting mothers due to their weakened immune system. This weakness can last up to two weeks postpartum.
Soon-to-be moms frequent hospitals and doctors offices where more sick people are gathered.
The flu shot has been shown to reduce the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by about 50 percent, and reduces her risk of being hospitalized by about 40 percent.
Flu vaccinations are safe and can be administered in any trimester.
Antibodies from the flu shot circulate to the baby during pregnancy.
Babies can’t get a flu shot for 6 months after birth, and there are no effective ways to treat the flu in infants. So the best flu prevention is for mom to get her flu shot during the pregnancy.
In addition to new and expecting mothers, the flu could be extremely harmful to the health and even the life of an infant. Fever, one of the most common flu symptoms, is associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes when it comes to a baby’s development.
If you have an infant, it’s important to make sure everyone who will be visiting the baby is in good health. It’s a good practice to ask all family members who will be in contact with the baby to get vaccinated two weeks before meeting the baby just to be safe.
The flu comes with many symptoms that can be confused with other conditions, so sometimes it can be hard to tell what’s really going on with your body. The most common flu symptoms are:
Runny or stuffy nose
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to get treated as soon as possible. In a 2009 study, if women waited four or more days before seeking treatment, they were 50 percent more likely to end up in the ICU.
We all know the cliche saying: it’s better to be safe than sorry. Well, when it comes to the health of yourself and your children, no shortcuts should be taken. Preparation is the best way to make sure you and your family stay healthy during flu season. Pregnant women, call our offices today to get the flu shot, while supplies last, and make sure it will be the most wonderful time of the year.