Having a Flu While Pregnant

Having a Flu While Pregnant

 

Flu poses a serious threat to pregnant women

Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, as well as to hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance of developing serious problems in their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery.

Flu vaccine is best protection against flu

The flu vaccine given during pregnancy protects both you and your baby (up to 6 months old) from serious illness and complications of flu. The flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years. It has not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. However, the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be given to women who are pregnant.

Early treatment is crucial for pregnant women

Flu symptoms include cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever of above 37.7 degrees Celsius, body aches, headache, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you are pregnant and get sick with flu-like symptoms call your doctor right away. If needed, your doctor will prescribe an antiviral drug that treats the flu.

Treat fever promptly

Having a fever caused by flu infection or other infections early in pregnancy can lead to birth defects in your unborn child. If you develop a fever, take acetaminophen and contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Drink lots of fluid, eat fruits and veggies.

Drink lots of fluid, particularly water or natural fruit juices (unsweetened). Eat a lot of dark green, red, and yellow veggies and fruits which contain phytochemicals, a natural form of vitamin that boosts the immune system. These steps will help you recover from flu more quickly.

Avoid secondhand smoke.

Aside from being harmful to your unborn baby, secondhand smoke also weakens your immune system.

When to seek emergency medical care

If you are pregnant and have any of the signs listed below, seek immediate treatment in the emergency room of the nearest hospital or medical center:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • High fever that is not responding to acetaminophen
  • Decreased or no movement of your baby

 

– Eric Michael Santos, Medical Observer

 

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