Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's That Time Again

The neighborhood drugstores have had the flu shot for this year, 2012-2013, available for about a month now. Your obstetrician and your pediatrician, not to mention your PCP, also have the flu shot available in their offices. You can get a flu shot at a doc- in- a- box. I know, you and your husband never get the flu shot because it gives you the flu. It can't give you the flu. The vaccine in the flu shot is inactivated which means that it can help you build the antibodies you need, but not give you the flu. The flu shot must be given every year because the viruses mutate, necessitating yearly production of the vaccine based on prevalent strains for that year.

The CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Nurse- Midwives, the American Academy of Pediatrics all  strongly recommend  the flu shot for everyone six months and older. Kids under nine years of age get two. An even higher dose has been recommended for older adults. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD HAVE THE FLU SHOT.

When you are pregnant you must protect yourself and your baby with a flu shot, unless you are allergic to chicken eggs, have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past or are currently running a fever. Get the shot, not the nasal spray which has the live virus, when you are pregnant. When you are post partum and or breastfeeding, you can have the shot or the nasal spray.

The flu can be very serious for certain high- risk groups of people and pregnant women are included in a risk group. The complications from the flu can be devastating. Pneumonia, preterm labor, preterm birth, worse. Speak to your provider about any reservations you may have about the flu shot and then make a reservation. Make one for your partner and anyone else you care about or who may come into contact with your newborn.