Flu Prevention in Pregnant Women
Catching the flu is dreadful–the fever, muscle aches, vomiting, and diarrhea can be daunting. However, it is especially worse when you are pregnant. During pregnancy, the flu can be more severe since it can last three times as long and you are more likely to suffer from pneumonia.
This is due to the weakened immune system women have during pregnancy. Another serious possibility is the risk of preterm labor and delivery that the flu can lead to. The flu is not likely to hurt the unborn child, but it does not mean that certain health measures should not be taken to avoid it. Here are some tips for avoiding the flu and maintaining a healthy pregnancy:
The Flu Shot. Receiving a flu shot sooner rather than later is a smart move. The shot is usually available in the fall. Do note that it takes a few weeks for the immunity to set in, but once it does you will be protecting yourself, and your infant, from flu for up to six months. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention article confirms this, “CDC recommends pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect themselves and their newborn babies from the flu.” However, the nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women.
Know the symptoms. Before you are able to treat yourself, or a loved one for the flu, one must know what symptoms to watch for. The American Pregnancy Association informs readers that the symptoms may include a headache, running nose, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhea/vomiting, body aches and chills/fever.
Avoid touching certain entryways and wash hands. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands. Our hands come in constant contact with all sorts of germs: doorknobs, cups, handles, or any item others may have touched. You may think your hands are clean, however, with these circumstances, it is not always the case.
A March of Dimes article certifies the easy spread