Fall is here, and along with dusting off your Halloween décor and grabbing your pumpkin spice latte, it is also time to think about getting your annual flu shot. Flu season lasts from October to May, and peaks between December and February. Though the media is pushing everyone to get their first, second or third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the flu must not be ignored and is just waiting to infect those who are unprepared. If you are pregnant, it is especially important to be vaccinated against the flu.
What’s the big deal about getting the flu when I’m pregnant?
Your immune system is dialed down a bit during pregnancy. This makes you more prone to infection and severe illness. This altered immune response, along with changes in how your heart and lungs work, are why pregnant women who get the flu often have much more severe symptoms, serious complications, and can even die from the infection.
There is also some evidence that having the flu in the first several weeks of pregnancy might be associated with an increased risk of your baby being born with certain birth defects.
Here’s why we recommend that pregnant women get a flu shot
Put this risk of severe complications from the flu together with the relative low risk of the flu vaccine. It is easy to understand why getting the flu shot during pregnancy is so strongly recommended.
Getting vaccinated against the flu during pregnancy has benefits for your baby as well. Newborns, like pregnant women, are more likely to get seriously ill or even die if they get the flu. Your baby can’t get a flu shot until 6 months of age. However, if you get the flu vaccine during pregnancy you will pass antibodies to your baby that will protect him or her from the flu in the first few months of life. This is especially important for babies that will be born during flu season (between October and May).
Can I get the Flu shot and the Covid shot at the same time?
According to the CDC, it is safe to get your flu shot and a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day. In fact, the CDC is advising that people get a COVID dose (or booster, if eligible) at the same time that they get their flu shot.
Who should not get a flu shot?
- Children younger than 6 months of age.
- People with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in a flu vaccine. (other than egg proteins) including gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.
- People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of influenza vaccine.
You should talk to their healthcare provider before getting the flu shot if:
- you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine.
- you ever had Guillian-Barré Syndrome.
- you had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of any other flu vaccine.
- you are not feeling well.
Prevention is Key
The flu vaccine is a very important way to reduce your risk of severe illness, especially, during pregnancy. It is also important to take every-day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs. Make sure to avoid close contact with people who are sick, practice good hand hygiene, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, clean and disinfect surfaces regularly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Premier OB-Gyn is accepting new patients in both our Maitland, FL and Oviedo, FL locations. We would be happy to see you! Please call 321-397-1212 or visit www.premierob-gyn.com to book your appointment!