Vaccination is essential not just to protect the person who gets the vaccine. The immunization is also vital to prevent spreading the flu to people who may be more susceptible. The flu shot blocked an estimated 5.3 million cases of the illness in 2016-2017. Also, one study showed that vaccination reduced risk of adults having to go to the intensive care unit (ICU) by 82%. Another study showed that the shot decreased children’s risk of going to the pediatric intensive care unit by 74%.
What about during pregnancy?
Getting the flu during pregnancy is more likely to cause health complications than at other times of life. The most crucial step to reducing the risk of getting influenza while pregnant is to get vaccinated. Research has shown that the flu shot alone reduces a pregnant woman’s risk of catching influenza by up to 40%.
How else can I prevent the flu?
In addition to getting the flu shot, pregnant women should take the same preventive actions recommended for everyone. This includes washing hands regularly, avoiding contact with people who are sick, and covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing. At work or school, make sure to sanitize work or study areas regularly and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers throughout the day.
What if I do get sick?
Pregnant women who do come down with the flu should seek medical treatment early. Antiviral drugs can improve symptoms and prevent serious complications. Treatment should start as soon as possible, as these drugs work best within the first 48 hours of noticing signs. Some of these symptoms to watch for include fever, chills, body aches, cough, sore throat, and fatigue.
Have a healthy pregnancy
During flu season, pregnant women are particularly at risk of infection and should get the flu vaccine early. Speak with a healthcare provider for recommendations on when and where to get the flu shot to prevent disease and have a healthy pregnancy.