Flu and Pregnancy Problems
Influenza, also known as the flu is one of the most common respiratory infections a person can get. The flu is very contagious and can result in serious illness with severe complications. Between 5 and 20 out of every 100 US citizens come down with the flu, every single year.
In general, flu symptoms include muscle aches, stuffed up or runny nose, sore throat, coughing, extreme fatigue, headache, and high fever. Some flu sufferers, for instance children, may also have diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea.
The influenza virus is, in part, an airborne virus, which means that when someone with the flu coughs, speaks, or sneezes, other people nearby inhale their flu germs. But people can also contract the flu by touching surfaces that have been handled by people with the flu, such as door handles, and then subsequently touching their eyes, noses, or mouths.
Some of the complications associated with flu, for instance dehydration and bacterial pneumonia, can become serious, and sometimes may even be fatal. Pregnant women are more vulnerable to these and other risks and complications. When comparing pregnant women to other women of a comparable age, pregnant women are seen to be far more likely to end up in the hospital from complications arising from influenza than are their non-pregnant counterparts. Pregnancy weakens a woman's immune system and changes the workings of her lungs and heart. These changes make a pregnant woman more susceptible to the complications flu can bring.
Flu shots have been proven safe for pregnant women, no matter their stage of pregnancy. Women who will be pregnant during any of the months from November through March are advised to have a flu shot. The exceptions to this rule are pregnant women with an allergy to eggs, since eggs are used in the production of the flu vaccine.
In general, pregnant woman are well-advised to have the flu shot, but should avoid the nasal flu mist vaccine (LAIV). This product is not approved for use in pregnant women.
Having your entire household vaccinated against the flu virus is a good way to keep the flu out of your home. Some other tips for avoiding the flu and preventing it in others:
*Stay away from sick people. If you're sick, keep your distance from others to protect them, too.
*Wash your hands often
*Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth
*When you're sick, stay home.
*Keep your mouth and nose covered with tissue when you cough or sneeze.
If you get the flu in spite of your precautions, talk to your doctor. Rest up and drink lots of fluids. Talk to your doctor before you try any over-the-counter remedies or products. Not all of these are safe in pregnancy.
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