Pregnancy and the Flu: Prenatal Precautions to Note This Winter

Sick Pregnant Woman

During the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, a woman’s body begins to naturally repress its immune system. This allows immune cells to flood into the lining of the womb, which causes inflammation. While inflammation typically means pain and discomfort, this is a unique situation in which it actually helps ensure a successful pregnancy. It also helps support the growth and development of the fetus throughout the entire pregnancy.

The downside is that changes to the immune system along with changes in the heart and lungs during pregnancy make women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) much more vulnerable to severe illness from the flu. If these symptoms are left untreated, it could mean a trip to the emergency room.

The flu is not only harmful for pregnant women, but also their developing babies. A common flu symptom is fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects, congenital heart disease and certain facial deformities in babies.

How to avoid getting the flu while pregnant

  • Get your flu shot
  • Wash hands often and use hand sanitizer regularly
  • Wipe down surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, etc.)
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

Is it safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy?

Yes, it’s safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend all women who are pregnant during flu season get vaccinated, regardless of which trimester they’re in. The flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of respiratory infection (commonly associated with influenza) in pregnant women by about 50 percent.

The skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) offer comprehensive prenatal and OB care as well as the flu vaccine. Protect yourself and your growing baby this winter with prenatal care services from PVHC. If you’re concerned about your pregnancy and the flu, call 909-630-7829 to schedule an appointment today.

Should I Get the Seasonal Flu Shot?

Should I Get the Seasonal Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months receive a seasonal flu shot. A seasonal flu shot not only protects you from a serious disease that may lead to hospitalization, it can also help your body build infection-fighting antibodies and protect your heart. This is especially true for those with pre-existing, chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. When you combine the flu virus with a pre-existing or chronic illness, your already taxed immune system may not be able to fight the flu virus on its own.

Still not convinced?

5 reasons why you should get the seasonal flu shot

  • You can spread the flu to other people, even if you don’t get sick.
    Young, healthy people may carry the influenza virus without ever experiencing any signs or symptoms, but it’s still contagious.
  • You can protect a child under 6 months.
    Babies younger than 6 months are much more susceptible to the influenza virus than adults. Unfortunately, they cannot get a flu shot; but you can help keep them safe by getting yourself vaccinated.
  • Your smartphone can give you the flu.
    Viruses can easily cling to hard, plastic surfaces, like your smartphone as well as the tables, chairs and counters you set it on.
  • The seasonal flu shot cannot give you the flu.
    This is a myth, the flu vaccine does not contain live flu virus.
  • It might spare you a heart attack.
    Influenza causes inflammation throughout your body, which can cause arterial plaque to dislodge and form a blood clot.

If you haven’t received your seasonal flu shot yet, there is still time! For flu shots in Pomona Valley, visit Pomona Valley Health Centers and protect yourself (and those you may come in contact with) from this severe flu season.

Prepare for Cold and Flu Season

cold and flu season

To reference a popular television series: “Winter is coming,” and with it, cold and flu season. Although influenza viruses can occur at various times of the year, increases in flu activity during the month of October are common. So, can you avoid getting sick? Maybe not, but you can certainly take steps to increase your chances of staying healthy.

Flu shot or not?

For 2016, the influenza vaccine is indicated for a wide range of people, including children as young as 6 months of age, pregnant women and even people with chronic conditions. Of course, should you have questions about this year’s flu vaccine, reach out to the caring family doctors at Pomona Valley Health Centers.

Who should not get the flu shot:

  • Children younger than 6 months
  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in it. (may include gelatin, antibiotics or other ingredients)
  • People with egg allergies

Who should talk to their doctor about the flu shot:

  • Those who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a severe paralyzing illness
  • People who are experiencing cold or flu symptoms

Prepare for cold and flu season

There are few ways you can improve your odds of avoiding the flu, or at least be well-equipped to fight it, including:

  • Load up on tissues, hand soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels.
  • Be ready for sick kids by picking up games, puzzles, coloring books or DVDs.
  • Stock your medicine cabinet with pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants or cough syrups.
  • Test your thermometer to make sure the batteries are working.
  • Disinfect doorknobs, remote controls and phones every day.
  • Clean your humidifier.
  • Avoid germy hands. Tell kids to wash for as long as it takes to sing two rounds of “Happy Birthday,” and that goes for you, too!
  • Two words: Hand sanitizer. Not foolproof, but every little precaution helps. Place a bottle in every room. Make sure it’s at least 60 percent alcohol, and have everyone use it each time they pass by.
  • Plan for sick days. Even if you don’t get sick, you may need to care for your sick kids. Know your office policy for sick days.
  • Friends and family to the rescue: Ask for help in case you’re too sick to care for your sick kids, or are unable to get them to after-school activities.
  • Rest to fight, recover from or avoid a cold or flu.
  • Get your flu shot. Talk to your doctor about getting the whole family vaccinated.

Helping you stay healthy all year long is our passion at Pomona Valley Health Centers. From family medicine and sports medicine to sleep disorders and urgent care, PVHC offers convenient locations throughout Southern California’s Inland Empire in Pomona, Chino Hills, Chino Hills Crossroads and Claremont.

To schedule an appointment, call 909-630-7829 or click here to use our online form.