Monday, November 2, 2009

Flu Season

The CDC is stressing the importance of both the seasonal and the H1N1 flu vaccines for all prgnant women. It doesn't matter if it is the first, second or third trimester. You may view updates to the CDC recommendations on their website cdc.gov/h1n1flu/pregnancy. Pregancy puts a pregnant woman at a four-fold increased risk for morbidity ( sickness ) and mortality ( death )from the flu.

The recommendation also includes prompt treatment for the flu, if there are symptoms, and it isn't necessary to be tested for treatment to commence. It is essential for pregnant women to be vaccinated and there is no stipulation about presevative- free flu vaccines.Either is being recommended. Take whatever you can find. It is important for pregnant women to call their providers at the first signs of fever and flu-like symptoms. Treatment is with Tamiflu. It is much more risky to be infected than to be vaccinated. The benefits far outweigh the risks.

There is a shortage of vaccine and pregnant women are on the priority list. Unfortunately, women are finding the vaccines hard to come-by and they must be very pro-active about searching out sources for themselves. Doctor's offices and clinics are receiving limited dosages and they are going fast.

Please protect yourself and your unborn baby and get the vaccines as soon as they are available to you. Pharmacies and pediatricians, health departments and walk-in clinics are sometimes receiving more than obstetrician's offices. I was at the Atlanta/Hartsfield Airport and Reagan International in Washington D. C. over the weekend and they had kiosks for administration of vaccines. Be proactive. Get innoculated. The sooner the better.

And remember the basic precautions: good handwashing, use sanitation stations, stay away from crowded and potentially infected areas and people. Cough into your elbow, not your hands and teach that to everyone around you. My granddaughter's daycare center is masking kids who don't use their sleeves to cough into and that teaches them very quickly to use their sleeve.

Be well and hope for an early spring.